Park City art galleries display multiple personalities
EMULATING OLD MASTERS
Wyoming-based artist Matt Flint truly puts the “mixed” into mixed media. He juxtaposes thick, impasto layers of opaque, earthy color with atmospheric glazes. Not only does he incorporate different types of media in his stunning wildlife and abstract pieces, but he also borrows from different times and cultures in art history.
For the past several years Flint has been incorporating the Japanese black ink paint, Sumi-e, into his work. He applies this ancient East Asian medium to his wildlife work in loose, abstract strokes, allowing the ink paint to drip and react naturally. In this way, he embraces the spontaneity of the process and the flow of the medium, capturing the wild essence of his subjects rather than rendering them precisely.
Flint incorporates materials from both non-Western and Western traditional painting practices. In addition to Sumi-e, Flint has introduced walnut crystal ink into his works, preparing the material himself. It’s a traditional, old-world dye used to achieve a subtle, deep, cool brown that hints at the days when Leonardo da Vinci and assistants prepared their own paints.
Meanwhile, the latest addition to Flint’s repertoire, silver leaf, is reminiscent of the ancient use of gold leaf and gilding. The medium is prepared by pounding and processing metal with rollers until extremely thin sheets are formed. These thin leaves of metal measure around 1/250,000 of an inch and can be adhered to the surface of the piece, giving the work a radiant luster. While difficult to capture in a photograph, viewing the art in person reveals how the silver leaf breathes shimmering life into each work.
In his latest show, “This Wilderness,” open now, Matt Flint searches for essence, something more powerful than likeness. He aims to demonstrate the mortality of his subjects, the dichotomy of strength and fragility, and of nature’s raw and beautiful allure, which calls to us and runs through us all.
His show takes inspiration from L.C. Vieira’s poem, “This Wilderness” (2007, 2013): “Though it’s hard, this wilderness — I know enough to stand in awe; I am not worthy of its wildness, but still it calls me, calls me, calls.”
PUTTING CARS ON A PEDESTAL
Stanley Wanlass creates sculptures that are both monumental and historical. He also likes giving jalopies and racecars a home in the art world.
The Sandy, Utah, resident started his training by carving cars out of cakes of soap when he was a child. Then he discovered clay, and found the joy of expressing himself with a medium that he could mold and sculpt.
Wanlass, who is also a painter, has taught at Brigham Young University, at the European Art Academy in Paris, and the University of Grenoble in France. He returned to the U.S. and taught classes at Oregon State University and the University of Oregon.
He is known for the work “End of the Trail,” a 10-foot tall monument that depicts Lewis and Clark gazing at the Pacific Ocean in Seaside, Oregon.
But his true love is cars, which he also refurbishes. In 1982, Wanlass and some of his colleagues started the Automotive Fine Arts Society, a group of visual artists whose pieces are sought by art connoisseurs and auto enthusiasts around the globe. Since its beginning, his client roster has grown to include the king of Morocco, who, in turn, helped make Wanlass a pioneer in automotive art.
Wanlass doesn’t just sculpt any car that comes to mind. He likes to focus on certain vehicles that are considered milestone automobiles, coming about at pivotal points in history.
Some of these vehicles include The Wasp, which won the inaugural Indianapolis 500 in 1911; James Dean’s 1955 Porche 550 Spyder; and Juan Fanglo’s W196 Mercedes, which won the Grand Prix in 1954. He’s also known for whimsical auto sculptures such as “Santa’s New Toy,” which shows St. Nick delivering his goodies in a souped-up jalopy.
CAPTURING NATURAL ART ON FILM
The McMillen Gallery is all about old school photography.
As photographers who’ve practiced their art for more than 23 years, Jared and Trish McMillen have received editorial commissions from such publications as Time Magazine, National Geographic, and Forbes, just to name a few. The commanding images in their Park City gallery display how the couple practices the art of capturing magnificent natural scenes on film.
Their old-school approach to photography uses medium and large format film—no digital work allowed here—as well as traditional methods of processing. Their goal is to maintain the practices of the art form and to create the highest quality photographs possible.
Collectors around the globe seek out the McMillens’ work, traveling to their Main Street gallery for both original pieces and limited editions. Due to low edition numbers, many of the couple’s images have sold out over the years. The McMillens feel the artistic nature of their imagery generates an unusual sense of value.
One of the newest collections in the gallery is the Encaustic Horse Collection, a group of one-of-a-kind images that reference the 5th century B.C. practice of using beeswax and resin to produce a soft, textured finish.
TURNING MEMORY INTO ART
Clay Wagstaff works from memory to create landscape paintings of extraordinary detail and finesse. Working with precision based on mathematical principals such as dynamic symmetry and the golden ration, the artist applies broad layers of solid color to create the backgrounds in his paintings, while the areas of trees, branches, rocks, sea foam, and moss are rendered with meticulous attention to detail.
Often, the viewer will see the artist’s line work breathing through the oil painting— this is done with purpose.
“I want to create the feeling of another dimension, that there is design behind the physical world, that there’s a blueprint or a spiritual design behind everything,” says Wagstaff.
He employs an ambiguous sense of scale and perspective to generate the appearance of an uncanny stillness and mystery while using soft layers of color.
In Wagstaff’s work, flat hazy skies might depict the first blush of dawn or perhaps the end of the day. Often in his travels, he is inspired by majestic Western landscapes.
Born in 1964, the established Utah artist holds an undergraduate degree from Brigham Young and a master’s degree from Long Beach State University.
His works have been exhibited around the country, with shows from Los Angeles to New York City. Wagstaff’s works have been collected by Delta Airlines, the Springville Museum of Art, Time-Warner, Deloitte and Touche, and the Utah Museum of Fine Art. The artist’s paintings have been featured in magazines including Art in America and Southwest Art Magazine. Clay Wagstaff has been represented by Terzian Galleries since 2004.
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