A line can serve “as a path, a break, a division,” says Felicia Baca.
In the new exhibit Baca curated for the Utah Museum of Fine Arts, all kinds of lines can be found: lines on canvas or paper, lines of poetry, fault lines in the Earth, the line tethering a kite, even newspaper headlines.
The idea of sight lines is common in architecture and theater, “where it’s this space that is protected, that is perceived as precious or important,” Baca said. “‘Site’ is one of the primary ways we take art in — like our literal site — but also the idea of a site like physical landscape, which always figures very heavily in art being made in the West.”
The exhibit, held by UMFA every three years, features more than 40 recent works by 27 artists who are also faculty members at the University of Utah. The works span all media: painting, sculpture, photography, calligraphy, videography and mixed media. The exhibit opens this weekend and runs through Jan. 6.
The white lines of acrylic ink in Al Denyer’s “Aleppo Spectre IV,” one of the first works encountered in the exhibit, look almost like topographical maps when seen up close. From farther back, one sees a ghostly gray and the barest suggestion of the images that influenced Denyer, of bombed-out buildings in Syria’s civil war.
In “Float Away,” Beth Krensky had lines of a poem embroidered into a kite sewn from gloves, camisoles and other garments left behind by her mother when she died recently. An accompanying video shows Krensky flying the kite near the Great Salt Lake in a performative gesture, Baca said, in which the artist aims to “send a message to her mother, to sort of have her release. It was her way of dealing with her grief.”
Photographer Edward Bateman, who also served as faculty liaison to the museum, created images crossing the line between life and death.
In “Reversing Photosynthesis,” he made photo images “without direct interaction with light,” he said. Bateman placed a leaf over light-sensitive photo paper and left it in the dark for weeks or months at a time, then developed the paper “like any other photographic print.”
The result, he said, are “images of leaves in the process of letting go of their life.”
A line in the Earth opens from a false floor to reveal Wendy Wischer’s acrylic-resin sculpture “Your Memory Is Already Fading.” The glasslike figures of 26 endangered plant species, including four native to Utah, seem to grow out of the dirt, sharing space they never would in the real world.
Sandy Brunvand was experimenting with petite landscapes, in black-and-white watercolor on paper, when she had an epiphany. “These landscapes are divisive in nature, and once I had that idea of divisive landscapes, I realized it was political,” Brunvand said. This was in October 2016, just before the last presidential election.
Brunvand saved copies of The Salt Lake Tribune delivered to her door and cut out headlines of the day’s news. She started writing the headlines on the images, using a typewriter because “that had a kind of newsroom flavor, not that I’ve ever been into a newsroom,” she said.
“I’m curating the headlines, I’m not making anything up,” Brunvand said. “I’m curating what does land on the doorstep.”
‘Site Lines’ at UMFA
“Site Lines: Recent Work by University of Utah Art Faculty,” an exhibit of more than 40 works by 27 artists who also teach fine arts at the U. of U.
Where • Utah Museum of Fine Arts, 410 Campus Center Drive, Salt Lake City
When • Friday, Sept. 28, through Sunday, Jan. 6
Admission • Covered under general admission: $12.95 for adults; $9.95 for seniors and youth (6 to 18); free for children 5 and younger, UMFA members, U. of U. students, faculty and staff, students at any public Utah university, Utah Horizon/EBT cardholders, and active-duty military families; free admission on the first Wednesday and third Saturday of the month
Hours • Closed Mondays; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. all other days (open until 9 p.m. Wednesdays)
Gallery talks • Oct. 3, 5 p.m.; Nov. 7, 5 p.m.; Dec. 5, 1 p.m.
Sight & Sound • Kasia Sokol-Borup will perform G.P. Telemann’s 12 Fantasies for Solo Violin, Oct. 17, 7 p.m.
Third Saturday for Families • A printmaking workshop, Nov. 17, 1 p.m.