Jay Meehan: Mixed media and strings
August 8, 2018
"Love of beauty is taste. The creation of beauty is art."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
The Park City Arts Festival and the Lucia Micarelli-Joshua Roman concert down at City Park arrived in the nick of time. Trail dust had caked thick on my soul and inner-peace was nothing short of a long shot. I needed a full on scrub down and soak. And I got both.
Not that they were shoved in my face or anything. Selecting the slow gravity-fed option, my mosey began at the top of Main Street on a lazy Sunday morning as artists rekindled displays and volunteers, who always seem to be having more fun than anyone, jump-started their shtick. It's showtime, baby!
Some pieces grab you gently by the lapels, forcing you to gawk in wonder at what higher degrees of pattern recognition can, with proper ingenuity, make manifest.”
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Did I mention the food truck chefs and stage hands, who, moving to a choreography all their own, artfully go about their collective set-ups as a Paul Gauguin might ponder the impressionistic propriety of adding a dab of flesh-colored pigment to one of the three visible breasts in "Two Tahitian Women."
Tent-like flaps are thrown back and tied down on the artist's white enclosures not with gusto but with individual flair. Art pieces then make their entrance, being laid out or hung as best befitted that particular muse on that particular day. Like the morning of the day to which they belonged, they unfolded.
It wasn't my first rodeo. Just prior to exiting Hebertown, I grabbed a book off one of the shelves and stuffed it into a backpack along with snacks and water and, as it turned out, not enough clothing layers. "Be prepared," our scouting leaders used to remind us during our mostly misspent youth. I still can't believe I left the flask on the counter.
Weaving in and out of the stalls slalom-like at a pace mostly dictated by the individual art itself, I kept tightly to the fall line save for when a piece of art off to the side confronted my reverie in a direct fashion. Like, say, George "The Hack" Austin's red-rock bench hugging the outside wall at the No Name Saloon.
Some pieces grab you gently by the lapels, forcing you to gawk in wonder at what higher degrees of pattern recognition can, with proper ingenuity, make manifest.
Not that I'm uncomfortable with my aesthetic lot in life. Just being grateful that my consciousness is at a level to somewhat appreciate what might well be transpiring within the "right-brain" of these wizards is enough for me. It's similar to my relationship with Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane. I hold the bottle and let them drive.
Earlier that morning just prior to dropping me off at the starting gate, my son Smokey reminded me that an artist whose installation had impressed me in an already quite well-appointed new residence up in the Teton Valley showed regularly at the Festival. I had him in my crosshairs. On this day, Dolan Geiman would not be giving me the slip.
When I arrived at the display-booth-in-question, the recollection of my initial reaction to the aforementioned installation swept back over me. Once again, there I stood, transfixed and stupefied. Geiman's depictions of Indigenous tribal chieftains and Mexican female revolutionaries, among other subjects, immediately stuck to my ribs.
It's when you step up close and squint, however, that the 3-dimensionality takes your breath away. The overlapping pieces, selected by some inner fractal geometry, and affixed, artistically, of course, by rivet through a most pleasing vocabulary of visual art that can neither be approached nor made figurative by the mere stacking of words.
In a feeble attempt to morph the work into text, my effort in the moment was to pound out some gibberish about "highly intricate multi-layered mixed media." Let's just say, it comes up short. The qualification of wonder and awe deserve much better. They are what they are. Check them out.
Speaking of the arts, have I mentioned Lucia Micarelli, who performed brilliantly in City Park once the Arts Fest shut down and who is married but with whom I've had an ongoing crush and whose fusion of violin-driven chamber music, soul, jazz standards, classical pieces and rock and roll sensibility makes my knees buckle and me talk fast?
Well, visual and performance art at her level will do that. Cause my heart to flutter and my foot to tap, that is. Plus wash away the thickly caked trail dust I rode in on. Joshua Roman, who performed with and without her, also deserves a nod. Thank you Kimball Arts Center and Park City Institute. You made a new man of me. We'll see how long that lasts.
Jay Meehan is a culture junkie and has been an observer, participant, and chronicler of the Park City and Wasatch County social and political scenes for more than 40 years.