SALT LAKE CITY —The Utah Division of Arts & Museums presents Cultivate, an exhibition on display at the Alice Gallery from Jan. 22 – Mar. 4, 2016.
Cultivate highlights agrarian landscapes as subject matter, and importantly includes works that draw attention to the water sources upon which those landscapes are conditional. Many works portray some of the most critical water sources in Utah and the west; the Colorado, Green, and Virgin Rivers, as well as local water sources that were essential to inhabit the Salt Lake Valley. Cultivate includes works from the State of Utah Fine Art and Folk Art Collection dating from 1904-2013.
In addition to the traditional and stunning pastoral scenes found in the collection, many of these landscapes also harken to the important role that extensive irrigation and cultivation played in the settling and habitation of the Salt Lake Valley. Cottonwood Creek by Gordon Cope illustrates one of the most important water sources that sustained development short after settlement by Pioneers. Other works, such as Navajo Cow Sculpture by Mary Jim, allude to locales and populations that predate pioneers settling the valley.
Much of the artwork depicts bucolic scenes, while others suggest or address issues related to the environment and the pastoral. Adam Bateman’s Glen Canyon is a conspicuous imposition on the landscape, while others such as Fred Eugene Wright’s photograph, Pleasant Creek #1, documents a dried-up creek bed in an area where agrarian practices are plentiful despite Utah being amongst the driest states in the nation. Cecil Smith’s Desert Farms depicts lush rolling hills, but reminds us that this farm exists on the precipice of a desert cliff.
“Utah’s landscape has always been a central point of inspiration for our artists” said Arts & Museums Director Gay Cookson, “but this exhibition also points at an important part of Utah’s history that continues to be a conversation around important issues of our day.”
This exhibition features painting, photography, sculptural and textile works by Utah artists including
Adam Bateman, Gordon Cope, Edwin Evans, Mary Jim, Jason Metcalf, Jeffrey Pugh, Tom Till, Mary Kimball, Blanche Wilson, Mahonri Macintosh Young, and others. The Alice Gallery is free and open to the public M-F 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. For more information, please visit visualarts.utah.gov