Gallery Stroll – November 2012

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A close look at a portion of Ryan Harrington’s larger work, “Time Peace.”

I know it sounds cliché, but as I get older, time seems to pass faster. I’ve settled into who I am, and I have a better appreciation of and perspective on life. I am even beginning to understand and revere wisdom and experiences over tight skin. However, as work, friends and family commitments multiply, and summer becomes fall and fall becomes winter, this train of time keeps chugging along. I can’t help but wonder: Is there a way to slow it down? Maybe I need to get off the fast track and take it down to a stroll. Sure, strolling sounds like something old people do through a park on a sunny day, but fortunately for this multi-tasker, strolling can also involve viewing art, meeting people, checking out the merchants in my city and, if I’m lucky, doing a little shopping.

The Salt Lake Gallery Stroll takes place the third Friday of every month (with the exception of December, but more on that to come). Having this sort of marker for each month is great for slowing down and checking in with friends and the local arts scene. So, you’ve carved out the time, called up a few friends and are ready to stroll, but where?

Tonight, we start at the Kayo Gallery with artists Ryan Harrington and Gentry Blackburn. Kayo recently remodeled and expanded into the old Frosty Darling space on 177 E. Broadway (300 S.), offering viewing areas upstairs and down, giving these prolific artists plenty of space to spread out and set their tone. Mixed media artist Ryan Harrington repurposes found objects to convey his views on American culture, faith and war. His Weapons of Mass Distraction show at Blonde Grizzly last fall created quite a buzz, blending war propaganda and weaponry with everyday hobby and household items. Harrington is skilled at taking a subject and flipping it upside down and on its side, leading the viewer on a ride through the proverbial rabbit hole. His work finds a balance of colorful and poppy while staying honest to the message and true to his craft––all virtues we need to be reminded of at the end of a major election year.

Ah, the good old sitcoms of my youth. Who’s The Boss?, Small Wonder, Mr. Belevedere––not award-winning programs, but they shaped our expanding view of the family unit and provided some good life-coping skills. Artist Gentry Blackburn loves invoking nostalgia with obscure references to pop culture. Anyone can find an image of old television families, but Blackburn takes it to new levels, finding the angles and arrangements that make us remember the characters and our relationship with them. “I want people to think, ‘I remember that!’ but for it to still be a quality painting they would want to hang in their house,” she says. After closing up shop at Frosty Darling, Blackburn has re-focused on her painting, shown at the 2012 Craft Lake City and has returned to her old space, now the Kayo Gallery. “I’m still around, I just went into recovery mode, and now I remind myself to paint when I get home each day, and I’m looking forward to showing at Kayo and to getting out there with my work.”

As I mentioned, November bleeds into December and December’s Gallery Stroll gets a bump up because of the holidays. In order to see Harrington and Blackburn’s show, you need to stroll between Friday, Nov. 16 and Wednesday, Dec. 5. If you wait, you will have missed these two, though I know you will find something to love and probably buy at Kayo’s small works show (Dec. 7-Jan.). See? You even have to hurry to stroll.

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