Main street won’t be the only home for gallery stroll anymore
January 30, 2009
A new website, brochure and an end to the $7 requested donation at the Kimball Art Center are some of the changes those attending Friday’s gallery stroll can expect.
Art sellers are starting the New Year with a smorgasbord of exhibits, meet-and-greet receptions and a more inclusive scope that includes businesses north of Main Street and elsewhere in Park City. Kimball won’t be the place to kick off festivities anymore, said Connie Katz, one of the heads of the association. Instead, 24 different art sellers and nonprofit organizations, including the Kimball, will offer passersby hors d’œuvre, drinks and plenty of eye candy.
The Park City Gallery Stroll runs from 6 until 9 p.m. on the last Friday of every month.
"Our whole message is that you can start anywhere," said Katz, who owns Coda Gallery on Lower Main Street. "You can start north of Main or you can start at the top. You don’t have to go and pay. You can go and stroll."
The economy hasn’t dampened enthusiasm for the rejuvenated Gallery Association, Katz said. Mike Hale Chevrolet, a sponsor of the stroll, will display a Chevy Traverse on Main Street, and organizers plan to hold a drawing as part of a newfangled sense of unity in tough economic times.
As art sellers have grown in number and expertise, banding together has made good economic sense, explained Tom Cushman, the director of Meyer Gallery, one of the oldest shops in town. "Over the last several years, the galleries are reaching a higher level of quality so that people don’t have to go to San Francisco or New York to buy art. You really have to look at it as an entire community rather than trying to undercut each other."
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Joining the gallery association was a "no-brainer" for Maren Bargreen, who opened Gallery MAR in the summer and is listed in the association’s brochure for the first time. Before she owned her own gallery, Bargeen directed other spaces in town. "For the first time in a long time we’re all working together," she said.
The association’s goal isn’t just for people to see art, but to make Park City an artsy community. But, as always, it’s the chance to meet sculptors, painters and potters that really draws the crowds. It costs Katz about $5,000 to bring an artist to town, and over the years, many of them have stayed at her house. "They’re like your kids," Katz said. "They’re on your payroll. They bring their dogs."
As a general rule, Bargreen will pay for an artist’s lodging in a hotel. When she has played host, though, she said visiting artists make polite houseguests. "You stay up talking late at night," she said. "Sometimes you gotta put them up."
Guide to the stroll
Urban landscapes, figurative oil paintings and crystal-encrusted ceramics will be on display during the January stroll. Here are some of highlights.
Sharon Jackman’s ceramics don’t always take the familiar form of bowls, vases and plates. Instead, Jackman shapes smooth, white porcelain into flowers, trees and birds. Then she pours on a liquid crystal glaze and fires her pieces at 2,000 degrees. At white-hot temperatures, thick crystals grow on the surface. Jackman can’t control exactly where patterns form, but she can determine the color of crystals by applying different minerals and metals. Copper breeds green, cobalt blue and iron orange.
Jackman, who exhibit at Gallery MAR will be her first in Park City, earned her bachelor’s degree in modern dance and has spent much of her adult life working as a choreographer. She decided to retire from performing about 10 years ago and starting making ceramics. She has glazed her work with crystal for about four of those years. Bargreen saw Jackman’s work in a show in Las Vegas and knew she wanted to represent Jackman in Gallery MAR. "They were luminous and tribal," Bargreen remembers. Some of the crystals are shaped like snowflakes. Others resemble mushrooms, thick and glassy.
"What draws people to my work are the shapes," Jackman said.
After a lifetime in architecture, designing contemporary office buildings, LDS temples and houses in California and Salt Lake City, Lloyd Platt decided to drag out the paints and canvases from his college days. Now 75, the Salt Lake resident is finding success as an abstract painter. Friday’s gallery stroll at the Kimball will be his first show in Park City.
Platt uses a bold palette and heavy masses contoured with fine lines to convey emotion. Although his paintings don’t bear much resemblance to blueprints or freehand sketches, Platt sees a strong connection between architecture and art. Buildings depend on texture, color combinations and light as they interact with their surroundings. "A good building, it’s hard to separate from art," he said. "You need to have the same sensitivity."
Platt makes a habit of waking up at 4 a.m. to work on his canvases, many of which take their inspiration from photographs snapped at Escalante. The location suits his palette of reds, blues, tans and browns.
As for recommendations for younger artists, Platt insisted on the importance of finding good studio space, and then not falling prey to trends, but it’s the inherent subjectivity of abstract art that appeals to Platt. "An abstraction changes all the time," he said. "It changes in the light. Every time you look at it you see something different."
A friend once approached Platt to tell him that she loved his painting with the teddy bears. "Thank you," Platt responded. "Now which one is that?"
Upscale art downtown
Jim Beckner is drawn to downtown Denver. His favorite street, and the source for much of his work, is 17th Street, in the business district of the city. Beckner prefers big cities with lots of action rather than the stillness of the plains. Beckner’s urban landscapes, now on display at Coda Gallery, are studies in light and motion. "We think of our bodies as having gesture," he said. "I try to think of objects as having gesture."
Beckner admitted that his city scenes aren’t the usual fare for mountain lovers, but may be a nice diversion. "Ultimately, I just want to be a good painter," he said. "If you paint, you’re going to improve."