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Just when you have grown accustomed to artists' styles, mediums and subject matter, they throw you a curve ball.

I'm not complaining. It's healthy for artists to get out of their ruts and explore new directions. In fact, it creates suspense and anticipation as gallerygoers wonder what surprises are in store.- The Kimball Art Center is currently spotlighting its Annual Open Painting Exhibition, a juried show in which Utah artists are invited to participate.

If you're an avid gallerygoer, you can easily close your eyes and imagine realistic paintings by Jossy Lownes and Judith Mehr; colorful but rather 2-D scenes of Southwestern dwellings by Tom Mulder; landscapes filled with atmospheric perspective by Jerry Fuhriman; small black-and-white wood cuts by Royden Card; and carefully applied acrylics by Lynne Millman-Weidinger.

But if you're looking for these types of paintings by these artists, you'll be disappointed. Instead, you'll find a non-objective painting by Lownes; a semi-abstract landscape painting by Mehr; a sunset by Mulder; paintings of petroglyphs on canyon walls by Fuhriman; a large oil painting by Card; and a beautiful oil portrait by Millman-Weidinger.

All of these are strong works - certainly deserving of some awards. But juror Steve Rosen passed them by to present juror awards to David Harris and Tom Bettin, first place to Linda Curley, second place to Judith McConkie and third place to Tom Knell.

Had I been judging the show, not only would I have given serious consideration to works by the artists mentioned above, but also to Thelma Parsons' oil "Oriental Peaches," Laurel J. Hart's watercolor "Entrance Closed," David Koch's oil "Turpin Meadow" and Douglas Fryer's oil "On Being."

Rosen, by the way, is director of the Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art, USU, Logan.

The exhibit remains in the Main Gallery of KAC through July 6. Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday. KAC is located at 638 Park Avenue, Park City, 649-8882.

- The Art Barn at 54 Finch Lane is spotlighting creativity of three Utah artists in its Finch Lane Gallery and a traveling exhibition by the Western Federation of Watercolor Societies in its Park Gallery.

Many gallerygoers are already familiar with Trent Alvey's mixed-sculpture pieces. But in addition to these pieces, Alvey surprises us with an installation "Five Realities" that deals with "the concept of self-imprisonment, sheltering ourselves within limitations that exist in our minds and incarceration within those limitation," Alvey says.

One of the most enlightening elements of this installation is a video in which five artists are interviewed by radio producer Scott Carrier. Alvey gleaned important information from these interviews; it had considerable impact on his installation.

Up until now, gallerygoers have been exposed to Steve Dayton's small, boxed wall sculptures. But in this show, he introduces us to three superb serigraphs as well as images cut out of fabric, stitched together and placed in his popular box-like frames.

His works are imaginative, indeed; but so are his captions that often integrated into his work. "I talk like this every time dinner gets close . . .," "This is the best floor waxed road I've ever walked . . . " and "We do construction but we're better with mustard plasters" are three of his many innovative titles in this show.

Initially, viewers will be attracted to Craig Glidden's contrasting values in his mixed-media works, not to mention his ability to effectively combine 2-D and 3-D works of art.

If you find yourself asking, "What does his work mean?," that's what Glidden wants you to do. "I want my work to reveal itself slowly, but never completely."

This three-man show continues through July 22 at the Finch Lane Gallery. Gallery hours are 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 1-4 p.m. on Sunday.

While there, be sure to walk downstairs and see the traveling watercolor exhibit in the Park Gallery. Although there are only 16 watercolors painted by members of the Western Federation of Watercolor Societies, these works are strong. I was particularly drawn to watercolors by Charles Donovan, Ken Hosmer, Joseph Melancon, Marilyn Schutzky, Patricia Vivian and Utah's own Diane Pratt.

This exhibition continues through July 1.

- Bountiful/Davis Art Center counters Finch Lane's exhibit by three men with new works by three women - Jossy Lownes, Ruth Hewlett and Anne Munoz.

Lownes doesn't hesitate to mix mediums in the same piece of art - watercolor and pastel; charcoal and acrylic; and acrylic, watercolor and casein.

In this show, viewers can see two more of Lownes' styles - from representational landscapes ("Houses") to semi-abstract art ("Another Life").

Hewlett enjoys capturing an impressionism in her work. Groups of flowers emerge and then disappear on a surface generally filled with negative space.

Two of her best paintings in the show are miniatures - "Optic Illusion" and "Wind Caves."

Munoz, known for her batik creations, successfully combines batik and pastel in three works in this show - "Life's Niche," "Energy Dwellings," and "Hunting Songs." She departs from her usual Indian dwellings in her batik of a girl in "Swing Free" and a boy in "On the Rope." And one look at "Autumn Windows" is proof positive that the artist knows how to capture the red cliffs and blue sky of Utah's canyonlands.

This exhibition continues through July 1 at BDAC, 2175 S. Main, Bountiful (292-0367). Gallery hours are 5-9 p.m. Monday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 2-5 p.m. on Saturday.