It may have been freezing outside last Friday night, but that didn’t stop local artist Jason Metcalf from displaying his unique art at The Mode Boutique.
Metcalf, along with other local artists, shrugged off the cold temperatures to light the local art scene ablaze in downtown Provo. The Downtown Provo Gallery Stroll takes place the first Friday night of every month at participating venues, including Coal Umbrella, Mode Boutique, Muse Music and a number of art galleries. The businesses keep their doors open from 6 to 9 p.m. while art appreciators stroll from shop to shop, mingling with up-and-coming artists and supporting local businesses.
The art on display is decidedly contemporary in its focus, breaking away from the norm and appealing to a younger audience.
Displaying art at the Mode Boutique, this was Jason’s first solo show in the area. A look at his artwork reveals a clearly intuitive artist, displaying images of the subconscious. His work seeks to "search for symbols, as well as visual culture specific to my locale, which is presently in the Utah area, but often search for the connections and shared meanings these symbols have with other contemporary cultures as well as past cultures," Metcalf said. Jason’s 2-D work featured intriguing designs and city themes that beg to stand aside Stanley Donwood’s pieces as an image on a Radiohead album.
Down the street, Muse Music also displayed artwork. This artist’s work was an impressive array of detailed caricature pieces of celebrities such as Thom Yorke, Tim Burton, and Jimi Hendrix.
Coal Umbrella featured artist Byron Stout. His work was best described by an information slide next to one of his paintings, which described him as being more of a feeler than a thinker – and suggested that while his art may startle some, that is desirable, as if it didn’t, he would probably be doing something wrong. Stout’s painting of a giant skull looming on a map of a deserted Utah illustrated this point well. His other paintings were much more simple in nature, reminiscent in theme to the paintings of Norman Rockwell. A few of these included a painting of a waffle house joint, and one of a car driving in the night on a road surrounded by trees.
Munching on free cookies and looking at the talent of local artists is a gratifying experience for many culturally thirsty people in Utah County. In fact, all sincere artists in the area are encouraged to get involved in the Downtown Provo Art Stroll, as it is an inclusive event for the whole community. "All artists should be considered on the same ground. Some make better artwork than others, but it is for each individual viewer to decide on that," Metcalf stated. All said and done, the diversity and quality of the art displayed at the event was enough to outweigh the cold for those who made it out.
For those who missed the Downtown Provo Gallery Stroll, the artists’ work will continue to be displayed throughout the month of February. Each month, new artists are showcased, so be sure to check it out. For more information, check out www.downtownprovo.org and click on "Public Arts Program."