The Salt Lake Community College President’s Art Show featured works from a variety of Utah artists earlier this month at South City Campus.
The opening reception was held Nov. 8 in the Center for Arts and Media multipurpose room, where awards were given to the show’s winners. The jury consisted of SLCC President Deneece G. Huftalin, local artist and gallery owner Bonnie Phillips, and a panel of local artists, art administrators and curators.
Each of the submissions possess the same unique qualities as their creators.
Mitchell Lee is a visual artist who graduated from The University of Utah studying painting. Lee’s art work “Millennial Searching for a Better Word for Depression” was awarded third place in this year’s President’s Art Show.
When discussing his entire body of work, Lee defines his art as “portraiture on found objects.” His primary mediums are acrylic and oil paints.
Lee started pursuing art in high school and then began painting in college; his favorite class was fingerpainting.
Lee also expresses the personal message behind his work, namely the feeling of a sheltered life.
“I wanna show frustration and feeling of unimportance,” says Lee. “Portraiture in traditional use was used for flattery and to immortalize the subject being painted, so I took that idea and I put my portraits on non-pristine surfaces. I guess I degrade that idea of flattery and immortality.”
Lee has entered art shows at The University of Utah and various calls for entries at galleries around Salt Lake such as Rio Gallery.
Chauncey Secrist works in many different mediums such as collage, assemblage, oils, watercolors, photography, and most recently linoleum. He won the Community Award for his display which features 58 bullet casings, one for each victim of the Las Vegas shooting in October 2017.
The assemblage Secrist submitted was inspired by the tragedy, and also serves as a commentary of violence in general.
“This particular piece has the most impactful message, it’s culturally relevant … There are shootings on a daily basis, almost, and people are conscious of it,” Secrist says.
Secrist enters many shows in and around Salt Lake; he describes his art as sometimes being “thematically dark” and he says sometimes people don’t take to that.
Secrist expresses gratitude for the President’s Art Show.
“I really like what the community college has been doing with the arts in the last few years,” he says. “The college has been really pushing their support of local and visual art that other educational institutions are not doing, and I really value that.”
Tyler Swain studied fine arts at Snow College and later at Utah State University, graduating in drawing and painting. Swain received the President’s Award for his piece “The Road Less Traveled,” from the poem “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost.
“It started out mostly abstract … The more I painted, the more it started to become a path, so it became about my personal journey as an artist,” he says. “I took this path of being a professional artist seven years ago, even though it didn’t necessarily seem like a smart decision … The decision to become an artist is definitely the road less traveled.”
Before beginning the piece, Swain had traveled to Cape Cod and photographed paths near the ocean to use as inspiration. Swain says this piece was a stretch for him, since he hardly paints landscapes and more often paints still lifes.
Swain uses only oils as a medium, and on occasion, a small amount of acrylic.
Swain says he is always interested in “balancing chaos with order” and he is also drawn to simplicity.
“Taking something simple and beautiful and somehow finding that balance between refinement and also spontaneity … Sometimes that may look like something emerging from a border or a background,” explains Swain.