Finch Lane Gallery
The Salt Lake City Arts Council, located in Reservoir Park, programs visual arts exhibits year-round in the Finch Lane Gallery. Artist are invited to apply for exhibits annually. Typically, the applications are made available in January and due back to the Arts Council in March.
The exhibition program is designed to give local artists an opportunity to show their current body of work. The application process includes a thorough and competitive review by the Visual Arts Committee of the Salt Lake City Arts Council, with members from the board of directors and visual artists from the community.
Both one-person shows and group exhibits are considered. The quality of work, as evidenced by images of previous work submitted with the application, a range of styles and media, and a balanced exhibition season are among the criteria considered in the application review process.
As a Salt Lake City native, Paul Reynolds has gone to great lengths to find solitude as an artist. After his formal college education and a stint teaching kids with disabilities, Reynolds relocated to Port Townsend in the Olympic Peninsula of Washington state. What might seem like a primal form of living, more like “living off the grid” these days, was a paradise and creative sanctuary for Reynolds who enjoyed living on the water.
“I was the caretaker of a tiny cabin that had no electricity or water. I had to carry in my water and use a kerosene lamp,” said Reynolds, of his Pacific Northwest stay where he would later meet and marry his wife Gretchen around Seattle as she attended University of Washington. “A long time ago, the area I lived in Port Townsend was a Jesuit retreat and the cabin I later stayed in was what they originally used as a changing room for the beach.”
But with settling down and starting a family, Reynolds returned to Utah with his wife and daughter. And since the 1990s, Paul and Gretchen have been artists using many different forms and styles the past 25 years when they decided to make Salt Lake City home.
In his most recent exhibit on display in the Finch Lane Gallery called Line Paintings, Reynolds admits this project is his among the most difficult collection of paintings he has ever done. He describes the endeavor as a complete about-face from his earlier work of drawing, painting, figurative stylings and even a decade-long stint as a photographer.
“My objective was and has been to push abstract expressionism. In the past all my pieces have been very busy [visually] with a lot going on. This [Line Drawings] has allowed me to simplify and change direction as an artist,” said Reynolds.
In Line Paintings, Reynolds applies paint with rags onto rectangular, birch panels. The way he describes the art from conception to completion is starting with a base or ground and mixing colors that show no brush strokes whatsoever. He noted that he could have easily used an airbrush and it would have made it easier, but then again, when it comes to creativity and trial and error, Reynolds knew that he wanted to give the works a more human feel. And while the oil and graphite is still wet, he gets one shot to draw a line or series of lines with a big, thick drawing pencil. Sometimes it works, sometimes it fails, but he is always looking to push the creative envelope.
“The lines on my paintings are “blind-drawn” or created as I am turned away from the object. I try to come up with these ideas on different movements that will generate what I consider to be good lines,” said Reynolds. “Abstract painting simply does not do it for a lot of people. I think there are many people that might look at the work and think they could create something similar in five minutes. What’s surprising to me is how many people have reacted positively to the work and like the paintings as much as they do.”
Perhaps the best way to take in Reynolds’ work is to look at the title of each piece. From “Running into a Box” to “Around My Back,” it’s interesting to try and conceptualize exactly how he went about creating the line or lines in each drawing.
When he’s not in his studio, Reynolds works at the Salt Lake City Library at the reference desk in what he describes as the best sales job in the world. “I get to sell people things they can take away for free and bring back when they are done. I also do the art programming which allows me to carefully curate different film, dance and music in a monthly series called “12 Minutes Max.”
Line Paintings will be on display at the Finch Lane Gallery until November 16, 2018. To learn more about 12 Minutes Max, please visit the Salt Lake City Public Library website.
This year is perhaps one of the busiest ever for Deborah Durban as far as creating new art from her home in Southern Utah. From her Bits and Pieces exhibit at Salt Lake City’s Art Access Gallery II back in August and September, to the current assortment of Collaged Portraits on display the Finch Lane Gallery until November 16, 2018, Durban is feeling a bit exhausted having created nearly 60 original pieces of work.
Unlike traditional painting or sketches, the idea for Durban’s Collaged Portraits originally began while cleaning out her mother’s house one day and she stumbled across an old family photo album. At the time of this discovery, her grandfather had been deceased for nearly 30 years. But many of the black and white or sepia-tinted grainy photos from that album were brought to life and the impetus for one of her most ambitious and vibrant collections. By using simple sketches and drawings, Durban creates a rough outline which comes together piece by piece until a colorful and unique work is complete.
Having been raised across the pond, specifically in South London, Durban recalls one photo that piqued her interest. “There was a picture of my grandfather, a really tall chap, with a group of other people,” said Durban, who guesses the picture was taken around the turn of the century in England. “Back then, people would get dressed up for the day and go to the seaside; much like Americans did at Coney Island. I wanted to push that story.”
With a dusty book of photographs, Durban notes she views old pictures like a blank canvas where she can user color and creativity to retell or re-imagine the stories. But putting together the pieces takes time and is a lengthy process. The artist notes there’s a lot of cutting and editing of dry material, often which is later put into place using a heat-based technique including a press iron.
As a graphic designer early on in her career, Durban recalls the days of “Lick, Stick, and Paste Up” when creating artwork and before much of her methodology changed with the rise of computer-based design programs. But the real turning point for Durban came when she relocated to the United States where her husband worked for a chemical company. Since she and her husband moved to Philadelphia on visas, she couldn’t work for the first three years in the country. “At the time, I thought “Hell Yeah, I’ll become a fine artist,” and so I volunteered for a co-op in Philadelphia called The Second Street Gallery,” said Durban jokingly, as this hiatus led to her to new artistic opportunities and lasting relationships.
After obtaining her green card and having previously traveled the world with stops in Australia and China along the way, Durban and her husband wanted to move somewhere with red soil. Having used vacation memories and pictures of red soil backdrops for landscape drawings, it’s no surprise Durban moved to Springdale, Utah where she and her husband ran a bed and breakfast for nine years.
Unfortunately, owning and operating a B&B was hardly living the dream since she felt on-call 24/7. Not only that, Durban was diagnosed with a rare neurological disease called Transverse Myelitis, affecting her spine and mobility. After going through clinical trials at John Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, Durban eventually found a leading neuro-physical therapist which helped her regain stability where she can now work in her art studio without using a cane or suffering from debilitating pain.
“In order to do the work I do, I have about 30 sets of exercise for my muscles. I go for walks in the morning which helps greatly with my mobility. I usually enter my studio around 3:00 PM and put in a couple of hours at a time,” said Durban. “I can’t sit down for eight hours at a time, it’s not possible.”
With a tight and structured regimen, the time allows Durban to create her collaged portraits which she still works on and is currently bouncing around some ideas for her next project or story. One of those projects involves telling visual stories of other individuals with her same medical condition. Durban intends to create some art which gives a human and artistic element to educate others about her disease. She may then take proceeds from those art pieces and collected stories to direct funds toward research and to raise awareness about Transverse Myelitis.
CURRENT FINCH LANE GALLERY EXHIBITION
Paul Reynolds & Deborah Durban
September 28 through November 16
Opening Reception & Gallery Talks: Friday, September 28, 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm
Gallery Talks: Deborah Durban at 6:00 p.m. and Paul Reynolds at 6:15 p.m.
Salt Lake City–The Salt Lake City Arts Council is pleased to present artists Paul Reynolds and Deborah Durban in exhibitions at the Finch Lane Gallery September 28 through November 16, 2018.
In his newest collection of line paintings, artist Paul Reynolds says his latest work is extremely personal and stripped down. “Applying paint in thin washes on large birch panels, I develop a surface that has no obvious strokes or clear shapes, making gradual color shifts. Near the end of the painting, I add one or more blind-drawn lines with a thick drawing pencil. This line is the result of some physical movement and acts as a record of an action: spinning, running, switching pencil hands behind my back. Each line is drawn without looking at the surface, lending the line a certain life of its own, almost out of control, with a physical charge and weight.”
Kith and Kin is the latest set of collaged portraits from mixed media artist Deborah Durban. The artist notes she has always searched for a non-traditional portrait technique that’s both fun and enthralling; her latest collage presentation embodies these characteristics. “I have found that this collage medium enables me to work freely, experimenting with realism and a more simplified abstracted form in one portrait. This process has also taken me back to childhood memories when I used to make, play and dress paper dolls – with similar feelings and a sense of fun, it is pure enjoyment!”
The exhibitions open with the opening reception on Friday, September 28 from 6:00-9:00 p.m. Gallery talks and discussions with the artist will be held during the opening reception and are scheduled at 6:00 p.m. with Deborah Durban and 6:15 p.m. with Paul Reynolds.
UPCOMING FINCH LANE GALLERY EXHIBITION
Holiday Craft Market
November 30 through December 19
54 Finch Lane
(1340 East 100 South)
Salt Lake City, UT 84102
Monday through Friday
8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Salt Lake Gallery Stroll
Third Friday of each month
6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.For information on the Salt Lake Gallery Stroll, visit their web site.