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Preview: Byron Stout, "Truck Meet Truck"

Written by Jim Dalrymple on . Posted in Art, Culture

Byron Stouts Snake Death has hung in Velour since the venues opening.

Byron Stout’s “Snake Death” has hung in Velour since the venue’s opening.

The recession has been particularly hard on downtown Provo. Despite the quaint charm of the city’s historic architecture, an alarming number of spaces remain empty. Sadly, the recession has taken an especially heavy toll on businesses participating in the local arts community and Provo’s recently thriving gallery stroll has lately appeared to be in its death throes.

However, gallery stroll may be down, but it isn’t completely out. This Friday, long-time arts supporter but first time stroll participant Velour Live Music Gallery will be hosting Byron Stout’s new exhibit, “Truck Meet Truck.” Along with the reopening of the F Stop Cafe, Stout’s Velour show will pump some much needed new blood into a community recently pummeled by gallery closings. It will also take place simultaneously with Velour’s vintage flea market, which means that admission to the venue — usually six or seven dollars for a weekend concert — will be free and include the opportunity to riffle through old school threads while checking out the paintings.

If you’ve ever been to Velour in the past, you’re probably familiar with Stout’s work though you may not realize it. Near the entrance, Stout’s painting “Snake Death” has hung since Velour opened. The painting depicts a car with Utah license plates and a mural of a snake and a skull on its hood. Velour owner Corey Fox felt that the painting fit the venue’s vibe and, like some of Stout’s subsequent work, portrayed a world that “wasn’t quite normal, but that’s what made it appealing.”

MOA

Review: Mirror Mirror

Written by Jim Dalrymple on . Posted in Art, Culture

About a week and a half ago, BYU’s Museum of Art (MOA) opened the new exhibit Mirror Mirror: Contemporary Portraits and the Fugitive Self, which thankfully continues the facility’s trend toward thought-provoking, cutting-edge contemporary art.

Mirror Mirror brings together a renowned group of contemporary artists that take it as their task to provoke museum patrons to thought and introspection. For example, Valarie Atkisson’s “Hanging Family Tree (Patriarchally Oriented)” depicts the artist’s genealogy using thousands of hanging slips of paper. Like the best works of art, it’s visually stunning and intellectually challenging all at once. Similarly, Rebecca Campbell also works with the image of a tree, but actually installed a real (and fairly large) avocado tree wrapped with velvet in the gallery. These pieces, together with the work of world famous artists like Takashi Murakami, provide a fitting follow up to Dan Steinhilber’s phenomenal exhibit that previously occupied the same space. Though the MOA hasn’t given up on exhibiting traditional painting, Mirror Mirror proves that it’s also invested in the frontiers of contemporary art.

Given all that, however, I also didn’t love the exhibit’s overall composition. On each of my three visits I found myself wanting to be deeply moved, but not actually feeling much. As a non-artist it’s hard to get excited about brushstrokes or inter-artist dialogue that I’m not aware of. Instead, I hope for images that can be viscerally affective, psychologically deep, and intellectually challenging. Some pieces accomplished all that; Ben Coonley’s “Valentine for a Perfect Stranger” and Oliver Herring’s “Basic (Dance 1)” are fantastic video pieces that use wit to explore relationships in a media-saturated, post-Youtube world.