Springville Museum highlights the diversity of contemporary Utah art

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Fine art is alive and well in Utah valley and the Springville museum is out to prove it.


The new show, “10 Artists, 10 Views” is a survey of up-and-coming artists in our community.


“Many of these artists are emerging into the professional art scene and stepping into the national spotlight,” said Ashlee Whitaker, associate curator for the past three years. “We have so many exciting artists in Utah. The main objective of the show is to help people get excited about contemporary Utah art.”


The show seems incredibly disjointed, incorporating a wide variety of mediums, styles and messages – but it’s meant to be. The landscape of contemporary art is cluttered with an incomprehensible variety of approaches and by that standard, as affirmed by this show, Utah is right on track. We’re perfectly homogenized with the rest of the art world. Perhaps that’s one of the underlying themes of the show: “We’re all different, just like everybody else.”


However, the pieces in this exhibit have a unique application to Utah Valley because the artists are responding to their experiences here. Some of them have spent many years of their lives ‘within the shadows of the everlasting hills,’ and their art has become a way of understanding themselves, their environment and their place within the community.


Even though the show may seem to be lacking in continuity at first glance, the artists were carefully chosen – but not by the typical method.


In the museum’s annual “Art Slam” last June, 10 artists were selected to create new works inside the museum while the public watched. Each artist had only six hours to complete their pieces, and they were surprisingly prolific with their time. Their creations, as well as their performances while working, elicited a tremendous amount of enthusiasm from the audience.


The precise selection of artists ensured a wide variety of mediums and approaches, all contemporary, but each reflecting a different method. They ranged from mixed media to sculpture and illustration and, as expected, showcased a wide variety of processes being used by local contemporary artists.


To thank the unusual grouping of artists, the Springville Art Museum offered to display their work in the show “10 Artists, 10 Views,” deliberately creating a bundle of dissimilar working methods and embracing the odd juxtaposition.


“It’s fun to have a show with variety,” said Whitaker. “Every piece is from a different perspective, a different thought . . . The more I get to know these artists, the more I appreciate their work. I’ve seen an evolution in each of them. It’s fun to see what motivates them, what energizes them.”


Whitaker hopes each person will create a connection with these artists and form a relationship with them, opening new possibilities of thought for each viewer. Most of all, though, she hopes that both viewers and artists will benefit from the mutual exposure. “They can each help each other,” Whitaker said, “and that’s what it’s all about.”


In addition to “10 Artists, 10 Views,” the museum has a wide variety of other shows that will be closing at the end of the month to make room for new exhibitions. Go to the Springville museum, and go soon. It’s worth your time.

By Clark Goldsberry