In downtown Salt Lake City, a unique art gallery has taken up shop. The Central Utah Art Center, or CUAC, has moved from their 20-year-old location in Ephraim, Utah, to a little nook located on 175 E. 200 S.
Taking advantage of their move north, the team at CUAC plans to continue and expand their work of spotlighting local and national contemporary art in a welcoming and open space.
CUAC’s current exhibit is a group show entitled CINEMATIC, which is running until May 4. The show explores the relationship of film to traditional 2D art forms like painting and printmaking. CINEMATIC is composed of both local and national artists, such as U instructor Rosi Hayes, Los Angeles-based artist Matt Glass, UMOCA resident artist Mary Toscano as well as local artists Jeff Larsen, John Bell and Justin Nelson-Carruth.
From the challenges of narrative and sequence presented by Larsen’s seething paintings to the multi-layered interactive videos of Hayes, each work at CUAC challenges the viewer to think about how the moving image has transformed not only art practices, but culture and society as a whole. While some pieces overtly examine movies — like Glass’s cinematic inspired photographs — others are more subtly referenced, allowing the viewer to engage with and contemplate the work on their own. Such a personal engagement is supported by CUAC’s intimate setting and helpful staff who are more than willing to answer any questions that arise while visitors look around.
One of the strongest pieces at the show is Toscano’s interactive instillation “5/16/1981.” The work is comprised of a single hanging print of a sitting man with a slide projector casting ghostly images of a little girl all around him. The slides, which are controlled by the viewer, go through a continuous loop of the child playing and trying to engage with the man. Meanwhile, the printed man squats in a white background, motionless and vacant.
While best experienced in person, this delicate piece encourages viewers to reflect on how memories captured in home photographs create a narrative outside of the actual events captured. These slides become a silent film spliced together from multiple shots to create a new whole. Toscano’s simple style allows one to fall into a rhythmic hypnosis as the slides noisily shift and one clicks through them lost in serene thought.
The works displayed in CINEMATIC are worth the short TRAX ride from campus to downtown. The gallery space at CUAC is a great addition to the Salt Lake art scene that will continue to promote ambitious and challenging work. Anyone interested in film, photography, painting or printing, or simply appreciates beautiful and thought-provoking imagery will not be disappointed by the exhibits at CINEMATIC.