Gallery Stroll: Utah Ties

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Photo Courtesy of CUAC Gallery

As a child, your universe was small and seemed to revolve around you. As you grew, so did your understanding of how extensive, diverse and evolving the world is and what a small part you play in this vast space. Then, one day, you have a chance encounter thousands of miles away from home and you’re reminded that the world is full of threads that tie us together—being from Utah is a thread that links you to people all over the world.

The Central Utah Art Center (CUAC) acknowledges and celebrates these threads in their annual Utah Ties show, opening March 20. Gallery Director Adam Bateman created this show in 2007 to enable art patrons to be exposed to a broader artist base while allowing artists who are connected to this region—whether it be by subject matter, education or family connections—the opportunity to get in front of Utah audiences. “We wanted to provide these artists with the opportunity to participate in the local art community and to shed a light on the impact Utah has had on the global art community,” Bateman says.

The show is a juried exhibition. Artists submit their work via the CUAC website. A juror weeds through the many submissions and selects a body of work that will be on display in the gallery for the month. The juror is also responsible for determining and awarding cash prizes for the top pieces, and Bateman handpicks the juror each year. “My goal when selecting the juror is to find someone who is a force in the art world that we can introduce to Utah’s vibrant art community,” he says. “It’s always exciting to have an art expert from outside Utah make their judgments about Utah artists, without regard to their career accomplishments, bios, etc. It’s been wonderful to watch young artists rewarded for their ambition.”

Previous jurors include Jonathan Goodman, a New York City art critic; Howard Rosenthal, an artist and art historian for the Metropolitan Museum of Art and a professor at Pratt Institute; Tanja Grunert of Gasser Grunert Gallery in New York City; Tim Hawkinson of the Marc Straus Gallery in New York City; Michelle Pobar of Cherry and Martin Gallery in Los Angeles; Max Presneill, Director and Curator of the Torrence Art Museum; and Adam Gildar of the Gildar Gallery in Denver, Colorado.

Mara McCarthy joins this esteemed group as the 2015 juror. “Mara runs an internationally respected program at a really innovative gallery in Los Angeles called The Box,” says Bateman. McCarthy herself has Utah ties—she has family here and has spent a lot of time visiting the state. McCarthy has been in the gallery on several occasions, which gives her a unique perspective from the previous jurors. Bateman says, “Mara knows what we’re trying to accomplish, and when I asked her to be a juror, she was very excited to be involved.”

For Bateman and CUAC, Utah Ties not only honors Utah ties, it creates them. For more information on the show or to submit your work, please visit cuartcenter.org.