Exhibit showcases Utah landscapes through two unique visions
A joint art exhibit at the Park City Library that combines the color photographs of Richard D. Pick and the black-and-white realism of American landscape charcoal artist Kristen Mitchell is open through May 31.
The pairing of the art styles gives viewers a chance to experience images of the Wasatch Range to the Colorado Plateau in an intimate and dynamic way, said community engagement librarian Becca Lael.
“Dick and Kristen’s dedication of their art that focuses on Utah’s public lands made them naturally fit together,” Lael said. “We felt people who love nature and art would enjoy the two works together. Their mediums are different, but they are, at the same time, similar.”
To further viewers’ experiences with the art, the Park City Library will host a free artist reception with Pick and Mitchell from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 24.
The artists will be on hand to answer questions and talk about their works, Lael said.
“When we hang the art in our exhibits, the library staff gets to meet the artists and hear about each piece,” she said. “So, I’m excited for the public to be able to get that same invigoration. There really is a special spirit about the works you only get when you meet the artists.”
5:30-7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 24
Park City Library, 1255 Park Ave.
Pick selects the unexplored
Pick’s portion of the exhibit, which is showcased on the second-floor walls, is titled “Terra Incognita.”
The title refers to the unknown lands of southern Utah, said Pick, whose photos have appeared in Audubon magazine and its calendars.
“I am drawn to the beauty, the peace and stillness of the more remote areas of the Colorado Plateau,” he said. “Very few people get to experience these places, and they can see them in these photographs.”
Pick’s connection with Utah’s remote public lands has not only inspired his art, but also his activism.
“I also enjoy advocating for preserving wilderness and the protection of the areas you see in these images,” he said.
“Terra Incognita” features 20 photographs Pick took over the past five years while visiting the Escalante River drainage, Mt. Washington, the Paunsaugunt Plateau and various Ancestral Puebloan ruins.
“I tried to look at the pieces that would, of course, fit the theme of the unknown land,” the photographer said of his selection. “I tried to choose pieces that would not be the images you would normally see in a coffee-table book about photography in Utah, although some may be somewhat familiar to people who know the area.”
Sometimes Pick would travel to an area multiple times to capture the perfect image, he said.
One of those photographs is of the Solstice Snake petroglyph in Moab.
“You have to be there on the Summer Solstice to see a unique shadow that will cross the 15-foot rock art,” he said. “When that happens, it puts on quite a show.”
For information, visit rdpnaturephoto.com.
Mitchell sees her work in black-and-white
“Utah” is the title of American landscape artist Kristen Mitchell’s portion of the exhibit, and the gallery reflects her love of the mountain scenes of Summit County.
“Seeing landscapes of how the Earth formed itself and how the light interacts with these areas gives me joy,” she said. “When I was little, it felt like I would fill with electricity when I saw these places. It was maximum joy.”
“Utah,” which is on display in the library’s reading room, features eight drawings that she created in the past three months.
“I had intended in showing a larger body of work, but I had sold out of my other works,” she said. “But I had already developed the photos I wanted to draw, and I had a good idea of what subject matter I wanted to show.”
Some of the works, which, at first glance, look like photographs, depict Guardsman Pass and the Wasatch-Cache-Uinta National Forest.
“Western landscapes are so powerful to me because you can experience the full scale of a place when you accurately represent the area’s smallest detail,” Mitchell said. “I like it when you can see large empty areas that have small clusters of detail in black and white. You want these things to sing together in an asymmetrical balance that feels pleasurable.”
Working with charcoal poses many challenges.
“The finest marks are made with blown charcoal dust, while the most intense mark are made by mashing a charcoal stick onto the paper,” Mitchell said.
She also uses brushes, sandpaper and stone to apply the charcoal to the page.
“Sometimes I tear up pieces of paper and use them to apply the marks to get the medium tones,” Mitchell said. “It must be funny to watch me work.”
The artist also tries to find interesting tonal contrasts in the scene she wants to draw.
“There is a play of shadow and light that I work with – light and dark, field versus lines,” she said.
Mitchell also enjoys working with what she calls the “most primitive medium used by artists.”
“These drawings are fairly sophisticated in execution by using raw material from the natural world,” she said. “The charcoal I use still have bits of wood grain in it, and organize that material into these plays of light and dark.”
For information, visit kristenmitchellart.com.
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