“Absurdly Familiar”: Combining classics and play in art  

Reading Time: < 1 minute Kent Christiansen’s “Absurdly Familiar” takes the viewer on a whimsical and playful journey through four decades worth of artwork.

Reading Time: < 1 minute

On display at the UVU Museum of Art is the talented Kent Christensen’s artwork titled, “Absurdly Familiar.” The display is exactly as the name describes. It explores west coast pop aesthetic in a playful and enjoyable manner. The fun colors immediately grab the viewer’s attention and the detail behind each piece entices.  

The alluring sweets that are the subjects of the pieces make the art impossible to ignore. Specifically, as shown in an oil painting titled, “Sensory Overload.” Made in 2011, this oil painting has the addition of candy wrappers on panels. This makes the piece feel dynamic and familiar. Christensen says, “This painting was inspired by images I saw on the tomb of two royal servants; Khnumhotep and Niankhkhnum, in Saqqara, Egypt on a visit there in 2010 and 2011.” This piece is a combination of history and treats.  

Another unique aspect of Christensen’s pieces is the questions he asks the viewer in the excerpts of each piece. For example, in the piece titled “Scream” he asks, “For decades, Utah County has been a center of technological development and is where a majority of the ‘Silicon Slopes’ tech sector companies are located. What do you think are some of the cultural, economic, educational, and other factors that have contributed to this phenomenon?” From the lighthearted appearance of Christensen’s work, it is easy to forget the emotional inspiration that is behind every piece. These questions prompt feelings that Christensen’s art answers.  

The ability to create art so fun, yet so powerful is something that Christensen has curated perfectly in his display of “Absurdly Familiar.” The pieces that are displayed at the UVU museum of art will draw the viewer to the point of noticing every small brushstroke that makes up the oil paintings.