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The great outdoors plays a significant role in several art exhibits in and around Salt Lake City.

- The Bountiful/Davis Art Center is featuring Davis County landscapes by 16 members of the Plein Air Painters of Utah. As the term "plein air" implies, artists haul their easels, canvases and painting paraphernalia outside to paint on site.Devotees to this kind of painting have learned that they don't have to paint everything they see. They can add or take away objects - even rearrange them for a more unified, original work of art. They also have found that they can capture the mood of the scene when actually experiencing it.

Colors are often more accurate. For example, a look at Diane Turner's large painting "Grand View - Bountiful Hills" tells the viewer that the palette of colors she used for the hills could never have been captured while working in a studio.

And brush strokes are generally freer - sometimes too much so. This is particularly noticeable in Ken Baxter's "View from Erda" and Graydon Foulger's "North Salt Lake."

Some artists begin a painting on location but finish it in the studio. This allows them to work from general specific - to brush in large areas while on location and then move inside to refine form, color, texture, etc.

Some of the plein air painters who have successfully done this are Vern Black, Elva Malina, Bonnie Posselli, A.D. Shaw and Kathryn Stats.

Working on location might be a big plus in creating quality art, but other factors are also involved. A significant one is selection of a frame that complements the painting. Unfortunately, some of the frames in the show are not an asset but a detriment to the art.

The show continues through June 3 at BDAC, 2175 S. Main, Bountiful, 292-0367. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 2-5 p.m. Saturday and Monday.

- The jewelry exhibit at the Phillips Gallery is a visual feast. Any woman purchasing one of these one-of-a-kind pieces won't be satisfied staying at home. She'll want to show it off to the world. And that won't be hard to do, since these highly creative works of art have incredible visual appeal.

Titled "Uncommon Creations," the exhibit has been in the making for over a year. Along with featured jewelers Randy Fullbright, Winston Gamble, Carla Jimison and Mary Ogdahl Mercer - all from Utah - and innovative jewelry makers from the West Coast.

A picture is worth thousands of words. And that especially true about this show. Any adjectives I might use to describe the show fall short when compared to experiencing this exhibit one-on-one. In fact, you'll walk into the gallery thinking that contemporary jewelry making as an art; and you'll leave convinced that it is a fine art.

Jewelry here is not limited to gold, silver and precious stones. We're talking semi-precious stones, paper, paint and fabric. Jimison and Mercer have both perfected the "Fimo" polymar clay technique. And their intricate images are unbelievable.

Complementing this three-dimensional exhibit are two-dimensional figure paintings by Earl Jones, Kent Wing and Francis Zimbeaux. Too bad some of the jewelry secured in the cases couldn't have adorned these nude paintings.

- The Utah Museum of Fine Arts is spotlighting "Art of the Asmat," a fascinating exhibition of art and artifacts from Steven C. Chiaramonte's collection of Western New Guinea Art. Chiaramonte, a resident of Salt Lake City, acquired most of these artifacts in the spring of 1992 during his first expedition into the Asmat region.

Some of the impressive works being displayed here include bows, arrows daggers and shields; a war canoe carved from soft wood and filled two men - and a severed head; three body masks made of woven cord, palm fiber, soft wood, feathers and seeds; and "bis" poles - carved wooden images of ancestors whose deaths are to be avenged.

While there, be sure to pick up six-page brochure written by Chiaramonte. In it, he explains the meaning behind this art. Although the Asmat people are known primarily as headhunters and cannibals, "they are a deeply spiritual people whose violent acts are required by their deceased ancestors."

Don't give up if you can't seem to find the exhibition; it's there, but it's downstairs - in the Hansen Gallery.

- You might have a problem finding another gallery - The Round Door Gallery. It's located in the large, red-brick building vacated about 10 years ago by the Salt Lake Hardware Co. Located at 100 North and 400 West, this relatively new gallery's exact address is suite 6 at 105 N. 400 West. In addition to the gallery name on the door is a sign reading "Mark Johnson Leather and Drums."

Inside you'll find not only Johnson's studio and gallery in addition to work by featured artists Fred Lyman and Susan McKean.

Lyman can put together a one-man show that looks more like a group show. He's a talented sculptor of wall hangings in which he has combined rawhide, paint, wood and fabric. He's also a paints imagery on a variety of surfaces - watercolor paper, pillows, wood, etc. Highly colorful is his "Birth and Death" imagery gracing the surface of an armoire.

Perhaps the most visually provocative of his works are his watercolors of his "spirit horses"; their images surface and then disappear in the dark recesses of each painting. A 20-minute video showing Lyman creating one of his spirit horse watercolors is available for viewing at the gallery.

The subject matter seen in McKean's charcoal and conte crayon drawings focuses on American Indian and American West themes. Portraiture is at the heart of her works, with several of her best available in limited edition prints or adorning T-shirts - all available at the gallery.

Also on display are Mark Johnson's leather works - packs, purses and other accessories. Johnson is also making a name for himself with his stretched, decorated leather drums; and more recently, he's been fascinated with didgeridoos, wooden trumpets by Australian aborigines. Not only is he making and selling them, but he's teaching classes on how to play them.

Artworks by Lyman and McKean will be on display through June 30. During this show, Round Door Gallery will be open from noon to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday - or by appointment. Call 531-0565.