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September Gallery Stroll in SLC

September 19, 2009

Last night I made it to the SLC gallery stroll with a couple friends (It’s been a few months since I’d been). We didn’t set out until close to 8 pm and it ends at 9, so we didn’t have long, but we picked some good ones to go to, and it was a fun evening.

First we went to the 35 Utah artists under the age of 35 exhibit at Finch lane Gallery. It was fun to run into fellow artists, and I knew or was familiar with a few of the featured artists, which is fun. I do love looking at art. When I see great art, I want to make it. I haven’t been so good on the making end lately. Sigh.

Next we ran over to Art Access, where James Christensen and two of his daughters Cassandra Barney and Emily McPhie had an exhibiton (“Hortus Conclusus or The Enclosed Garden.”) I was quite familiar with James and Cassandra, but somehow Emily had escaped me (even though once I googled her, I had actually seen several of her paintings). I really liked her pieces in the show. Especially her marionette series. I couldn’t find a picture of my favorite one online, but I did find an unfinished version on Emily’s blog. (the finished version has a great crackle finish and a glaze that got darker at the edges of the piece).


emily mcphie 4 paintings 800 px across

We chatted briefly with Emily about the series (who was wearing a fantastic handmade dress made from fabrics by Amy Butler–or maybe Heather Bailey?). She said it has to do with her musings on motherhood and wondering if/when it is appropriate to metaphorically cut her daughters’ strings.

In the next room over, there were some lovely monotone watercolors by Scott Forster.


By the time we left, it was nearly half past 9, but we still thought we’d head over to the David Ericson Gallery to see if we could still see the Brian Kershisnik show. Turned out be be a good time to go, because it was still open but most people were gone, so we got to talk to Brian for a while. He had some really lovely paintings and drawings, too. I want one. Sigh. Here are some of my favorite paintings from last night (I couldn’t find images of any of the drawings, tough I really liked a couple of them).

Brian Kershisnik Artist Devoured by a Terrible Beast 30 by 24

Artist Devoured By A Beast 30 x 24

Brian Kershisnik Young Astronomer 66 by 84

Young Astronomer 66 x 84

Brian Kershisnik Choosing Everything 32x42

Choosing Everything  32 x 42

Shannon and I had classes from Kershisnik 3 years ago when he taught for a semester at BYU. He recognized us, and is still as nice as ever. I got to ask him a question I’d been wondering for a long time. See, Kershisnik painted “Nativity” while he was teaching at BYU, and it went up in the BYU Museum of Art right after that.


I adore this painting. I remember when I was quite young, my parents telling me the story of Christ’s birth, and how true it felt when they speculated whether we were among the angels of the heavenly choir. I’ve always believed that I was there. To see a painting depicting this idea was stunning. Anyway, as I was admiring the painting for the first time, a funny elderly museum usher kept coming up to me and divulging as many fun facts as he could come up with about the artist and the painting. He pointed to one angel and said, ‘what do you think? is it a self-portrait of Kershisnik?” Hmm. Maybe. Tthanks a lot, buddy. Now I’ve been wondering ever since. So last night I asked Brian. He said no–and yes. “They’re all me. And they’re all you.” He said that many of his figures are subconsciously himself. And his wife. And his family and friends. But he didn’t deliberately paint himself into a cameo appearance. Whew. Glad to have that question answered.

One more thing about Kershisnik’s paintings. And paintings period. They are SO MUCH BETTER (yes, I’m yelling) in person! The way the light illuminates Kershisnik’s paintings is just so pretty. And his patterns and textures. Not to mention the scale.  The show is up until October 23rd. I highly recommend going to see it!

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Anneke permalink
    September 19, 2009 4:35 pm

    I went to a lecture that Kershisnik gave at the Bridge a couple weeks ago, and I was all excited to ask him a question during the question-and-answer period. I’ve been wondering this for years. I had all kinds of exciting pre-suppositions. It finally came to my turn –

    “Why do all your women wear dresses?” I asked him

    He looked a little startled. “I don’t think they do, do they?”

    “Most of them do.”

    “Huh. Most of them do. I wonder why that is. I think it’s probably because a whole dress is a really big expanse to put a cool pattern in.”


    “Does that bother you?”

    “No. Not at all. I just always thought your figures were Extra Mormon.”



    “Huh. No, I just like making patterns.”

  2. September 19, 2009 4:41 pm

    Kershisnik! Gesundheit.

  3. Mama permalink
    September 19, 2009 11:18 pm

    Thanks for posting, Lil!
    Loved your question and Anneke’s, and Kershisnik (Gesundheit!)’s responses. Well, actually, I didn’t love his yes it’s me AND you etc. answer, that way of answering seemed kinda precious, but I still love him and his paintings, and it’s very interesting that he hadn’t been conscious his women all wear dresses.

  4. zstitches permalink
    September 27, 2009 2:05 pm

    How interesting. (And I would love to own any of the artwork pictured here.) Emily McPhie’s daughters must have more compliant personalities than mine because I don’t find myself able to easily relate to the string-pulling metaphor. I suppose you may have heard by now how Rose, from the front row on the stand during the Primary presentation this morning, gave a thumbs-up after the first song and made everyone laugh. If there was any puppetry involved there, Rose was the puppeteer.

    In the first few months after Ike was born I wore dresses and jumpers almost all the time because it’s all I had that fit, and I was self-conscious about it but later when I mentioned it to one of my friends, from her response it sounded like she hadn’t even noticed. (How can you not notice someone only wearing dresses and jumpers on weekdays in Berkeley?)

  5. October 8, 2009 4:58 pm

    That’s so neat that you posted this cuz I saw this painting in progress hanging up in Wolf’s office (not sure if that’s the right spelling of his name.) I wondered what it would look like when it was done. Wish I was still in Utah.

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