“Between”: an alchemical art exhibition

Reading Time: 2 minutes Beth Krensky’s renowned art exhibition “Between” comes to Utah Valley University. It is a multimedia experience that utilizes performance art, photography and artifacts.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Beth Krensky, the art head and professor of art teaching in the department of art & art history at the University of Utah, is currently holding a portion of her renowned art exhibition “Between” at Utah Valley University. It is being held on the fourth floor of the Gunther Technology building. The exhibition first premiered in its entirety at Yale University in 2022.

Krensky’s work has been displayed extensively throughout the United States, as well as internationally. Among her many achievements, she was recognized as one of Utah’s 15 most influential artists and is currently one of five performance art finalists for the 16th Arte Laguna Prize. 

As the exhibition is described, “Krensky’s work often draws from an ancestral well of biological, cultural and religious knowledge. Such influences inform her artmaking and relate specifically to the idea of the limen — the space between spaces.”

The first thing that becomes apparent when viewing this multimedia project is the TV in the center of the room with a cushioned bench in front of it, allowing attendees to sit comfortably and watch the performance pieces Krensky has put together. There are eight pieces in total, and they play in a thirty-minute loop. 

Displayed around the exhibit are still photographs and artifacts taken from these performance pieces. With the ambient sounds accompanying the performance pieces combined with the artifacts and photographs around the room, it is almost like being transported to “the space between spaces,” which Krensky is attempting to describe with her art.

A lot of emphasis is placed upon objects and actions throughout her works. She imbues these seemingly mundane things with a spiritual energy that gives them an elevated feeling. It might leave one uncomfortable and maybe even fearful of the experience, but Krensky’s intention is to “navigate this realm of transformation.” It raises questions of what has meaning in attendees’ own lives and how it may hold sway over their actions. 

Another subject of focus throughout is the scenery of Utah as she traverses it using her performance pieces. For people familiar with the locations, it feels at once familiar and alien. 

One piece, “Dispatch from Solitude #1: Walking the Unknown Path,” features Krensky traversing through Emigration Canyon in Salt Lake County while wearing a mask and Tyvek suit as worn by frontline workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. A chair is strapped to her back which has Psalm 23 written on the seat. The piece highlights the strange and ethereal nature of transformation that the pandemic made many people all too aware of. 

Another piece, “Baptismal of Tears,” explains, “The art of Alchemy — a strange mixture of hard science and otherworldy magic — has long inspired the artist.” There certainly is an alchemical feeling to the pieces throughout this exhibition which will be apparent to any who attend.

The exhibition confronts attendees with the strangeness of their own existence and the spaces they occupy while they are in the process of change. It touches upon both the things which people hold sacred and those which are profane.