Life experiences shape us into unique individuals with different likes, dislikes, passions, pasts and futures.These differences often manifest themselves through artistic expression; thus original artwork tells the story of the artist.
With the recognition of this fact in mind, the Covey Center for the Arts is featuring the individuality of four local artists in “Self in Context,” an exhibit on display through Jan. 30.
The artwork of Sharon Gray, a professor at BYU, is infused with relatives, romance, adventure and humor. From her piece “Chapter in the Story of my Parents,” in which she highlights her parents’ unwavering love during WWII through use of found love letters to her photographs of frozen, desert and ocean landscapes inhabited by her own shadow, Gray demonstrates the use of many unique outlets for her artistic expression.
Perhaps the most amusing of her pieces is an ordinary domestic refrigerator covered in representations of her many personalities. These include images of Frida Kahlo, Grandma Moses, the Mona Lisa, Bob Dylan, a nun and many others figures with Gray’s face superimposed over the original. Her work is unconventional, to say the least.
Associated with both the Alpine School District and UVU, Cynthia Clark chose to express herself through various representations of doors, or portals. This is seen more literally in pieces such as “Of Changes and Choices,” which depicts transforming landscapes cut through by paths leading to open doorways, and more abstractly in her piece titled “Of Religion and Man’s Perception,” which utilizes two mirror images of Jesus Christ, ancient text and muddled paint to transport viewers through spiritual experiences both past and present.
Having taught at both BYU and UVU, Barbara Wardle has her hands in everything from painting to sculpting and creating original jewelry from semi-precious stones and sterling silver.
Although the majority of her paintings depict the unrefined beauty of natural Utah landscapes, her most powerful piece is an acrylic painting titled “Journey from Anger to Peace,” which she began in 1994 following the death of her husband and which she finished only recently. It portrays a multi-colored outline of a woman’s body, seated and unidentifiable, with brass letters, numbers and symbols adhered to the canvas.
Diane Asay has taught at Provo and Timpview high schools as well as BYU. Although the sole medium she explores in this exhibit is watercolor, the subject matter varies and numerous techniques are applied. A collector of bottles, Asay demonstrates their unique appeal through still life paintings, as well as depictions of assorted chairs, all of which make a profound statement with their vacancy.
Her most intimate pieces are those which depict her own aging body parts, including the head, hand and foot. These seem to represent the major functions that she values most about her own body. The attention to detail in Asay’s pieces reveal both her considerable technical skill and her devotion to art.
Although most of us are penniless college students, it serves to mention that the exhibited artwork is for sale, but more realistically, visit the exhibit if you are looking for creative enlightenment or simply something to do in your spare time.
Open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., the free admission and illuminating artwork are reason enough to check it out, but for more information visit www.coveycenter.org.