Southern Utah Museum of Art opened their spring season with the biennial Southern Utah University 2021 Art & Design Faculty Exhibition and a reception on Thursday, Jan. 13. The faculty art show features SUU’s art instructors’ most recent pieces.
Some pieces focused on political awareness. Adam Taylor, a graphic design professor, printed a series of colorful flags emblazoned with symbols and slogans advocating for voter reform. Another series featured a mosaic of canvas prints of white neckties and a single pink bow that represent the caucasion, patriarchal history of American politics.
Several pieces focused on modern art rather than politics. Aundrea Frahm, a visiting visual arts professor, collaborated with Las Vegas-based florist Shino Mullen to create a 17-foot tall floral throne for the audience to sit in and take pictures. They titled the piece “#instantroyally.”
Assistant Professor of Photography Sam Davis exhibited a series of photographs that appear to be old, sepia-tone family portraits from a distance, but feature aliens and monsters like Godzilla on closer inspection.
Alongside the faculty exhibition is a collection of paintings by Cedar City resident and World War II veteran Clayton Rippey, who died the night before the opening of the exhibition. Rippey’s exhibit “Organized Chaos” is an exercise in extracting surreal art from blindfolded drawings he made.
“This art show is really what has been keeping him going over the last few months,” said Steve Yates, the proprietor of Artisans Gallery and a friend of Rippey’s.
Another piece on display titled “From Dust” is a larger experiential piece that repurposes a storage closet for a video display from the classic western by the same title. “From Dust” is a short, dark hallway that ends in a platform where a projection of the final shot of the film is played on loop. This installation meditates on nuclear testing in Nevada and “downwinders,” or people whose health is compromised by nuclear tests in Nevada. John Wayne, the star of the film this piece uses, was a victim of cancer as a result of those tests.
Jon Yerby, an adjunct music professor at SUU played classical guitar throughout the reception. Yerby made rhythm loops and would play improvised solos over them.
The reception was a two-hour affair which a few dozen people attended. In order to track potential spread of COVID-19, audience members were required to register online before they could enter. SUMA’s director and curator, Jessica Kinsey, led a brief session of remarks about 45 minutes into the reception. Kinsey thanked the artists and volunteers for contributing to the success of the event.
The 2021 SUU Art & Design Faculty Exhibition will be available to view until Feb. 13, and “From Dust” will be available to audiences until Feb. 2. SUMA’s open hours are from Monday-Friday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m..
Story and photos by: Janzen Jorgensen