The UVU Faculty Art Show at the Woodbury Art Museum is open until Dec. 8. Whether you want to see something thought-provoking, emotionally poignant or just something beautiful, it is worth your time to check it out. Show your support for our incredibly talented faculty and maybe see something that will move you in a way you didn’t expect.
The most striking piece in the exhibit was Close to Me (Angelique) by Haynes Goodsell. It is two lines of white text roughly three quarters of the way down a black backdrop that says “the potential ramifications to the future efforts of staff prevented us from pushing the envelope.” The quote is pulled from correspondence between Goodsell’s student and the staff at Touchstones. It is a depressing look into censorship that happens in the world of art, a world where the viewer, the reader, the curator and the artist should all be open to the world around them, not threatening to quit over the use of a photo. From the artist’s statement accompanying the piece, “Censorship is a bleak indication of the future and is not indicative of what this University can and should become. UVU has the potential to be an institution of higher education where its students are inclusive, broad-minded, free-thinkers; and this art installation calls upon students and faculty to be proactive in fostering these ideals. We must be leery of and sensitive to censorship, as censorship hinders growth and true knowledge.”
Gareth Fry’s You, Me, Us had, for me, the most emotional impact. It consists of two parts, one of which was a hanging structure with printed statements from participants in this project, opening themselves up in a touching way and sharing their fears, dreams, accomplishments, failures, strengths and weaknesses. The second part was three large posters that represented the external factors that constantly barrage us and influence our thoughts and feelings. Per the artist’s statement that accompanied the piece: “Together, the hanging structure and posters represent the fine balance and continual tug of war between the internal workings of the human soul and the numerous elements that embody our earthly environment.”
Amy Bennion’s Cat (Alice) is a piece that speaks to me of the multiple versions of ourselves that we all must have in order to live, be it professional, relational, familial, or personal. This piece features a woman in color standing nonchalantly against a smoky backdrop where above her lurks a shadowy version of herself. She has a small version of herself resting in her hand and another under her foot.
Prey by Chad Hardin ventures into the realm of digital art. In this piece, a young woman in a green strapless dress looks at the viewer with pleading eyes and hands clasped in prayer. Behind her, horrifying demons claw and thorny tentacles reach.
“Prey is a variant cover to Children of Eldair vol. 2. The girl on the cover is one of three “children” trapped in a magical alternate universe trying to find a way back home. In the the second volume of the book they are attacked by a horde of demons and barely escape with their lives. The title is a play on words, Embera has her hands folded in a prayer like fashion while the demons behind her close in making her their “prey”.
“The theme and style were appropriated from religious imagery of catholic prayer candles which were very common among the Spanish people I taught while serving my mission,”Hardin said.
Another standout for the show was the marble sculptures by Jason P. Millward. These beautiful sculptures stand alone in three different rooms of the exhibit. The titles Merging, Triumphant and Restless are captured in the smooth white stone with strong lines that draw the viewer’s eye along the vaguely human shapes in a way that speaks to the viewer paradoxically, speaking to both the humanity and primacy of our strongest emotions.
Remaining in the sculpture department is Waiting Siren by adjunct professor Gary Hall. This seductive bronze piece stands in a room surrounded by pieces on censorship and the conflict between inner working and external conflicts. The seductive Siren contrasts the other pieces in the room with her representation of the most basic human want in a way that makes you feel the danger that these creatures posed to the sailors. You can almost hear her singing to you as you leave the room.