Facebook Twitter

SCULPTORS, ARTISTS TURN PUBLIC PLACES INTO VISUAL MECCAS

SHARE SCULPTORS, ARTISTS TURN PUBLIC PLACES INTO VISUAL MECCAS

The Salt Lake Gallery Association commissioned local painter Meri Ploetz to create a colorful pin available at many Salt Lake galleries. In the center of the stylized imagery are the words, "Art: Salt Lake's full of it."

No time is more appropriate than the present for Salt Lakers to boast of visual art, since many local painters and sculptors have just completed, or are in the process of completing, art to grace the Utah landscape and interiors of public places.- The Utah Arts Festival has put "public" back in public art each year by letting festivalgoers select the winner of the Art in Public Places competition. Sculptress Janet Shapero won last year. Her piece, consisting of three monolithic forms cast in green glass and mounted on a stone base, was installed on the Triad Center two days before the opening of this year's festival.

Although Nolan Johnson, one of the other two competitors, was not announced the UAF winner, he was later commissioned by the Triad management, KSL Ch. 5 and Travelers Insurance to enlarge his model "Shatilisa," a stylized woman and dog sculpted in stainless steel. It was installed at the Triad Center last December along a walkway just north of the building housing KSL.

At this year's festival, four artworks vied for top honors - Kenvin Lyman's monolithic light needle; Bonnie Sucec's figure with stilt legs and head of a horse; Frank Nackos' steel structure consisting of two pillars holding a graceful, fanlike formation; and Jeff Juhlin and Robert Desmond's collaborative piece consisting of polished black granite, etched copper concrete and neon suggesting the Wasatch Fault.

All the ballots have been counted. And this year's winner is Lyman's "Chromonobolus." The sculptor plans to mount this light needle on the roof of the Capitol Theatre. A powerful, colored beam of light will extend vertically into the sky; varied-colored lights will alert the public of the type of performance currently held there - ballet, symphony, opera, etc.

- Sixteen artworks were spotlighted Saturday during the grand opening of the new Utah Center Plaza, located smack-dab in the middle of town on the much-publicized Block 57. The plaza is being called "Salt Lake City's outdoor living room."

The theme of the plaza is "natural Utah." And the plaza and art pieces have been designed to explore the unique environment of natural history and beauty of the state.

The design team for the plaza project includes John E. Pace + Associates, Smith and Smith Landscape Architects, and Projects for Public Places.

The most visible art piece in the center is a tower topped by a "floating" rock. It appears suspended because the four sides of the column directly under it are faced with reflective glass.

Titled "Asteroid Landed Softly," the sculpture is actually a towerlike sundial. Pipes surrounding it mark hours and days of the year. When hit by sunlight, a prism attached between the hour marks radiates a spectrum of colors. The artist who created the fascinating sculpture/sundial is Kazuo Matsubayashi.

Some of the other obvious art creations include:

- "Aviarea," (John E. Pace + Associates) - a large, steel structure to be inhabited by birds from Tracy Aviary.

- "Portal" (Neil Hadlock) - two stone slabs that are highly polished on one side, while the opposite sides show rough texture with marks of drills and chisels.

- "Wildlife Wall" (Day Christensen) -

A mural consisting of 48 reproductions of drawings by first-graders from elementary schools throughout the state who were asked to draw their minds' vision of natural habitats in Utah.

- "Water Walk" (John E. Pace + Associates and John Shaw) - A vine-covered arbor framed by two splashing curtains of water.

- "Peace Cradle" (Dennis Smith) - a bronze casting of two children playing a string game.

- "Fruited Plain II" (Richard Johnston) - abstract, welded-steel sculpture.

- "Isthmus" (Jim Jacobs) - a multidimensional wall sculpture/painting hanging inside the west entrance of the activity building.

Since many of the other art projects were also built as an integral part of the center, some are so "integrated" they might be overlooked.

- "Utah Sandscape" (James McBeth) - Selected Utah sands fill the 8-by-8-inch glass blocks that make up the sides of the pedestrian bridge.

- "Chess Oasis" (John E. Pace + Associates) - A large chess board made of 18-by-18-inch granite.

- "Crystal Grates" (Silvia Davis and Jim Jacobs) - 10 custom-designed bronze tree grates with snowflake patterns.

- "4 X" (Willy Littig) - Four clock faces on the gables of the kiosk, the plaza's information center.

- "The Story Wall" (Day Christensen) - 80 24-by-24-inch bronze panels along the plaza's sunken lawn area. The text features Native American legends.

- "Water to Ice/Ice to Water" (Diane Shaw) - Sculptured wall that surrounds the pond/ice rink.

- "Architectural Relief" (John Shaw) - Decorative frieze on the interior wall of the rental building that repeats design on the pond's wall.

- "Temporaria" - An Interim landscape environment by Jan Striefel, landscape architect; Stephen Goldsmith, sculptor; Ricklin Nobis, composer; and Mark Strand, poet.

Goldsmith said that "Temp-oraria" is indeed an appropriate name for this project, since it will probably be torn out in three to five years when more office buildings are developed on the block. And "tempo" refers to music and "aria" to space.

"Striefel and I had an idea of what we wanted to do," Goldsmith said. "Magically, our ideas came together."

But Strand and Nobis also played an integral part in this installation. Strand's poem, incised in granite slabs, was written specifically for this project.

And Nobis has put together eight hours of music on a compact disk. The music will be piped throughout the installation.

"The sound is a way to seduce people to enter the plaza from Main Street," Goldsmith said." As they walk, the sound moves with them."

- Goldsmith has also been involved in another collaborative effort - Seven Canyons, a new fountain in Liberty Park. The $500,000 project was the result of a generous endowment by Obert C. Tanner, who paid 50 percent of the cost. That endowment was matched by Salt Lake City.

Although there have been several articles written about the fountain, little mention has been made of the team of principals whose collaborative efforts have resulted in a visually aesthetic work of art. Besides sculptor Goldsmith were Boyd and Lizzy Black-ner, architects; John Swain, landscape architect; Bruce Biesinger, project manager/SLC Engineering; and Layton Con-struction.

Goldsmith said the project began 2 1/2 years ago. Brainstorming and planning meetings lasted over 18 months. "We met weekly for the first three or four months," he said. Although the meetings then became less frequent, Goldsmith found himself in "hundreds" of meetings - but not necessarily with the entire group.

It was team effort that resulted in the design of the fountain. Groupings of rock represent the mountains along the Wasatch Front. Miniature rivers and creeks flow from the canyons - City Creek, Red Butte, Emigration, Parleys, East Mill Creek, Big Cottonwood and Little Cottonwood. They flow into the "Jordan River" and, later, empty into the "Great Salt Lake."

Installation of this ambitious project took about 11 months. Goldsmith said it started in the summer of 1992 but was kept on hold during winter months.

The team came up with the original idea of taking canyons and waterways and letting people walk through them, Goldsmith said. Kids love it, since they can interact with the creation. It's a "hands-on" experience - or should we say "feet-on?"

A unique concept, this may be the first fountain in Utah in which the public can become a part.

"This piece succeeds," Goldsmith said. "It establishes a sense of place as well as entices people to come into the water."

And it's a learning experience. People say, "I didn't know these streams emptied into the Jordan River" or "I didn't realize that the river Jordan ran into the Great Salt Lake."

- Venturing indoors in downtown Salt Lake City, people have been watching a transformation, as nine artists paint the columns of Gastronomy's Oyster Bar.

Already, four columns have been completed - two by David Sucec, one by Glenn Brown and another by Kenny Davis. Nearing completion is a fifth column being painted by Randy Royter. The graphic designer/illustrator began his mural on March 24. Highly colorful, it spotlights fanciful underwater imagery.

Incidentally, Royter is the illustrator whose dinosaurs dot the billboards that advertise Hogle Zoo.

The fifth artist, Kenvin Lyman, started painting his column last Wednesday. The names of the other four who will be invited to paint the columns have not yet been announced.

John Williams, one of three Gastronomy partners, said the idea of covering columns with murals was inspired by Marc Chagall and other Parisian artists whose paintings adorn columns of La Coupole, a famous bistro in Montparnasse.

This is a second collaboration of artists, architects and designers by Gastronomy, parent company to several local restaurants and clubs. Three years ago, 12 artists painted murals along a 4-by-60-foot wall at Baci Trattoria, 140 W. Pierpont Ave. Other artists were also involved in designing and decorating portions of the Baci Trattoria.

Salt Lake City is full of art. Take time to discover, study and feast upon it. And remember, "art feeds the soul."