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Fathers Consider the Impact of Parenting on Their Art in New Exhibit

SALT LAKE CITY — The failures, opportunities, and spontaneity of fatherhood is explored through the works of twelve artists in an exhibit opening at the Alice Gallery on Nov. 17.

The twelve artists were asked a simple question: How has being a father affected your art? The artists, who represent a variety of mediums and life stages, each approached the simple question in a different way in the exhibition Artist/Dad. The exhibition will be on view at the Alice Gallery from Nov. 17, 2017, through Jan. 12, 2018. A public reception will be held on Dec. 1 from 6-9 p.m. in collaboration with the Salt Lake Gallery Stroll.

Artist Daniel Barney, a father of three, reflected on the intense concern he felt for the safety of his newborn daughter while she slept in a crib next to his bed 23 years ago.

“Fatherhood is a complex concept that does not directly correlate with painting, but these works are artistic impulses of that moment,” Barney said.

Fatherhood taught Spencer Budd that he is by no means perfect and failure is a part of the learning process. He draws from what he has learned as he creates his work. “The possibility of failure is always present, but it is often my failings that result in a work that is fresh, spontaneous, and interesting.”

Both Namon Bills and Tyler Swain collaborated with their young children on each work. Bills, who allowed his 3-year old to paint on some of his existing work before finishing it himself, said, “Being a father brings its share of interruptions to current plans and trajectories. While these changes are difficult for a planner such as myself to swallow, they also lead to unexpected adventures, new opportunities, and greater outcomes than I would have experienced on my own.”

Swain’s approach was to let his son start and finish each work. “I wanted to not only express the idea of how being a father has influenced my artistic pursuits, but to actually allow my son to share in the creative process with me, resulting in a collaborative piece. I let him draw whatever he wanted to on each panel, name the piece, and tell me what was going on in his narrative.”

Justin Wheatley’s interpretation of the question came down to the influence making and consuming art has on his family. “My children are the driving force behind my work. As I thought about this show, I realized that, though I feel some burden to produce work in order to provide, I feel more need to make art in order to share the joy and struggle that comes along with it.”

Other artists participating in Artist/Dad are Fidalis Beuhler, Jeffrey Hale, Jorge Rojas, Colby Sanford, Steven Stradley, Duston Todd, and Clinton Whiting.