Canyon Road Contemporary Art

Jason Roberts - Blocks

Canyon Road in Santa Fe is an excellent place to take an evening stroll, with galleries lining both sides of the street as far as the eye can see, and friendly people to visit with. Anna and I walked up there on a Sunday, so some of the galleries were closed, but there were still a good number we were able to stroll through. Of those galleries my favorite had to be Canyon Road Contemporary Art. Not only was the gallery owner Debbie Brody very nice, patient, even playing with our dog Scout, but there was also some exceptional artwork on display. Two artists in particular at the gallery stood out for me:


Jean Wallin

Norma

White Maiden

Shopping In The City

Quiet Figure

There is something about featureless figures that is fascinating to me. Figures that imitate human life. Like mannequins caught in time, forever experiencing the same moment. There is something incredibly spooky about that, but also seducing and beautiful at the same time. Jean Wallin captured those feelings of unease and enchantment in her work.


Jason Roberts

SM#3

MED#2

SM#5

SM#4

Jason Roberts’ artwork is just fun to look at, with new colors and shapes constantly capturing the eye. You find yourself uncovering something with each glance. Even though it is hard for me to put into words, I can relate to what he is doing, and it makes me want to clap my hands and dance around for a little bit. He paints sophisticated figures and colorful landscapes, filled with bright shapes and amazing texture. He also had a bunch of painted boxes at the gallery that you can stack on top of each other, allowing you to interact with each piece, while bringing the artwork out into three-dimensional space (a photo of the boxes is shown at the top of the post). We enjoyed Jason Roberts’ artwork so much, I got Anna one of his landscapes as a present and we have it hanging in the front room. It’s a beauty!


Jean Wallin - Busy Like Susan

Santa Fe Clay

Warehouse

Warehouse

Todd and Orpheus

Todd and Orpheus

Santa Fe – an art Mecca – far less touristy and commercial than I expected, is where we spent Todd’s 40th birthday. Our stop right after the Georgia O’Keefe Museum was an art gallery/studio/workshop/classroom called Santa Fe Clay.

Located in the Railyard District, which is something like the 400 W and 200 S area of SLC, still a bit industrial but is quickly being redeveloped and rediscovered, this 10,000 foot warehouse is home to some amazing pieces.

Egg Cup

Egg Cup

The main dish exhibit we saw was a small sculptures show by the artists Miguel Abugattas, Cynthia Rae Levine, Katherine Taylor and Karen Thuesen Massaro. It was cool, but I preferred the appetizer, a warehouse full of stacks of sculptures and functional ware, and the dessert, a cramped hallway filled with interesting pieces.

Bunny Girl

Bunny Girl

I had a few favorite pieces. An egg-shaped functional turquoise cup was my soul mate, possessing the beautiful lines and simplicity I love in pottery. Blue and white as well as gold painted porcelain with weird designs also stole my heart. Osama Bin Laden made a surprise appearance on a tea pot. And, I can’t stop thinking about the lamb-slipper-wearing, bunny-faced, party girl sculpture. Todd stayed true to his classical nature, and loved Orpheus more than all the other pieces put together.

If you go to Santa Fe, this workshop/gallery is a gem. If you’re there for a while, try out the classes and let us know what you think, www.santafeclay.com.

Blue and White

Blue and White

Vase Schlong

Vase Schlong

Shool’s Furniture Company

Shool's Furniture Company

Shool's Furniture Company

Front Door

Front Door

Surplus and Salvage Merchandise
780 S 500 E, Salt Lake City

It looks the way the inside of my unconscious must look. Empty cardboard boxes piled high. Dust two-inches thick. A few non-functioning washing machines hint that things are dirty that won’t be getting clean any time soon.  Nothing’s been touched inside in years. I should know, I’ve been peeking in the windows of this SLC landmark on a weekly basis ever since I moved here in 1998.

Damage

Damage

It’s a modern, flat-roofed white building, right across the street from the original Rico Market. The front is almost completely windows that go from the ceiling down to my knees when I stand in front of it. The word “DAMAGE” has been artistically spray painted across its face. Based on my Architectural Field Book, I’d guess it was built in the 1930s. I find it beautiful in a “one-time hoarder’s hub – current abandoned rat’s nest” kind of way. If I ever direct a movie most of the scenes will be shot inside and in front of this building.

Washers

Washers

A Google search revealed the building’s identity: “Shool’s Furniture Company,” which is categorized under “surplus and salvage merchandise.” It seems unlikely that after 13 years of combing SLC’s thrift stores that I wouldn’t have heard of this one. Yahoo says it’s a military surplus store. This news brings goose bumps, because I’m picturing survivalist neo-Nazis filing in to buy MREs and ammo while the city sleeps. Todd adds that he imagines the neo-Nazis tossing in a load of laundry or two while they wait in line. In his mind’s eye, the Nazi’s have washed their reds with their whites so many times that their tube socks and tighty whities are pale pink.

I called the phone number for the store, but no one answered. I would have left a message but it just rang, and a machine didn’t pick up. If you’ve ever been inside this gorgeous building that’s been filled with trash for decades, I would love to hear about it.

Side Door

Side Door

Northside Greenery

Northside Greenery

Georgia O’Keefe

Cottonwood Tree In Spring

Horse Skull With White Rose

Earlier this month Anna and I took a trip down to Santa Fe, New Mexico. Even though the trip was planned out very well, the decision to go to Santa Fe was kind of a spontaneous one. I was turning 40 you see, and Anna wanted to take me on a trip for my birthday. We didn’t want to go too far and New Mexico seemed like a really good choice. I’d heard a bit about the art community down there over the years, but I guess the main reason I wanted to go down was for the history (Santa Fe was settled in 1609), and to see some architecture. And there was plenty of both. But the way that community supports and embraces the arts was truly a refreshing sight, and everybody we met was very friendly and supportive.

Black Hollycock - Blue Larkspur

There is a whole lot of beautiful work being produced in Santa Fe right now, and I may write more on some of that work in upcoming posts. But first, I want to write about the Georgia O’Keefe Museum. We visited the museum right when we woke up on our first day in Santa Fe. As a matter of fact, the house we stayed in was right downtown, only a few blocks away from the museum.

Trees In Autumn

I began researching the artwork and life of Georgia O’Keefe when I was a teenager, and over the years have read a couple of biographies about her. She is a very interesting person, and I have always been drawn to her paintings. I have seen quite a bit of her work as I’ve made my way through galleries and museums in different cities. The way she takes the harshness out of nature and life in her paintings can be a nice thing to see, and the opportunity to see a whole museum dedicated to her work was too good to pass up.

Ram's Head, Blue Morning Glory

When Georgia was in her 50s, after her husband Alfred Stieglitz died, O’Keefe moved to New Mexico. I think the bulk of what we saw was painted in the surrounding areas, because of all the beautiful desert scenes. There were some nice pieces from earlier in her career, including one of her New York city-scapes. I love her city-scapes, and they always take me by surprise, so that alone brought a big smile to my face.

Autumn Trees - The Maple

But that wasn’t my favorite. My favorite painting had to be the image at the very top of this post, called Cottonwood Tree in Spring. It was incredible to look at, and I stood in front of it staring. The way that the white branches played in and out of the green foliage was fascinating to me. I’m not sure that the small size of the internet image does it justice but, Holy Cow! What a beautiful painting! Another painting that I truly enjoyed was Autumn Trees – The Maple, to the right. The shapes in this painting are amazing. Anna’s favorite is shown at the top and to the right of this post, called Horse Skull with White Rose. I actually reproduced this painting in Sculpey as a small pendant for Valentine’s Day, and I love to see Anna wear it. It helps bring back all the good memories of our time spent in Santa Fe.

Black Mesa Landscape, New Mexico/Out Back of Marie's II

The Family Pet: A Madares Gold Fundraiser

The Hive Gallery is supporting a horse rescue group with a photography show based around photos of ordinary folk’s family pets. The show runs February 21 through 26 in the gallery on the second floor of Trolley Square.

I submitted 12 photos of my own pets, although only nine of them were taken by me. My students at Youth City’s Ottinger Hall enrolled in the Pet Care class I co-teach with my dog, Girlscout, got in on the act. They drew and autographed the mats surround some of my color photos.

Even if you don’t go out to see any of our other shows, please try to see this one. Since the photos are of my dogs and my kids added their drawings, this show is quite personal and dear to my heart.

hivegalleryslc.com

Dog Show Fashion

The Westminster Dog Show is the biggest dog show of the year and the world will be watching to see which pooch will be crowned “Best In Show.” I was very marginally involved in the dog show scene as a kid during a short stint spent breeding Australian Shepards. I soon determined it wasn’t worth my effort because of one overarching problem: the wardrobe.

Where I’m from, the dog handlers wore Wrangler jeans and Ropers (the lace up cowboy boots with fringe on the toe), which really isn’t so bad in retrospect, although I hated it at the time. But the fashion I see in the national, televised dog shows makes me want to scratch my eyes out, and not because of an allergy to dog dander.

The dogs are so cute. I always feel bad for them having to stand for hours during torturous beauty treatments, like eyebrow waxing and Brazilian blow-outs. My own little Girlscout is a purebred Welsh Terrier from a line of dog show champions. She would probably be famous if I weren’t such a poop. What can I say, I don’t want to wear calf-length polyester skirts with worn out flats and a man’s shoulder pad-enriched blazer as I prance with her around the ring.

As you watch the Westminster show, which is on USA tonight, I challenge you not to stare at the dog handlers and their horrible clothes. Look at the dogs, damn it! Their eyes are down here.

And while we are on the topic, what do you think dog handlers should wear to show off their pooches to replace the standard ill-fitting and unfashionable attire? An all black ninja look with everything but the eyes concealed would be my vote, or hot pink 80s work-out gear would bring a much needed action sports attitude to the ring,  but I want to hear from you.