Local artist captures movement in dance

Featured at the Horne Fine Art Gallery and Studio is an exhibition of oil paintings and pastels displaying dancers from across the country, including several from the U’s Ballroom Dance Team. All were created by Salt Lake City’s own Karen Horne. Joseph Meyere / The Daily Utah Chronicle
Featured at the Horne Fine Art Gallery and Studio is an exhibition of oil paintings and pastels displaying dancers from across the country, including several from the U’s Ballroom Dance Team. All were created by Salt Lake City’s own Karen Horne.
Joseph Meyere / The Daily Utah Chronicle

In an unassuming part of Salt Lake City, near the Sears on State Street, stands an equally unassuming art gallery.
Upon entering, the first visible work is a delicate pastel of ballerinas on a reflective glass floor that creates an image pulled straight from a dream. Beyond that, the gallery holds some of the most exquisite works of dance and color found in the city — all thanks to Karen Horne.
Featured at the Horne Fine Art Gallery and Studio is an exhibition of oil paintings and pastels displaying dancers from across the country, including several from the U’s Ballroom Dance Team. Horne, an artist with a rich legacy of art and appreciation, created each piece.
“I’ve always responded to people and capturing people’s gestures,” Horne said as she stood in front of her massive painting of ballroom dancers, titled “Harmony in Yellow and Blue.”
Horne’s art effortlessly captures the dancers’ movement using simple pastel, conservative lines and the sweeping lushness of oils. Several dances from the Pasa Doble to the waltz and polka are displayed in her studio.
Having been an artist most of her life, Horne grew up among art. Her mother, Phyllis Horne, was a noted landscape painter, and her works are also featured at the Horne Gallery. Going to school at Yale and coming back to Utah after missing the mountains, Horne briefly held a position as an art professor at the U.
“I got to work with design and color,” Horne said. “I love color, so we did half a semester in colors. It was great.”
Always on the search for inspiration, Horne’s dance series is inspired both from the dancers she has seen and her own experience in dance.
“I started doing ballroom dancing as a hobby about a decade ago, and as it increased in my life, I realized dancers were fascinating to watch, and I just have to capture the dance,” Horne said. “So it was very organic for it to grow out of trying to integrate my life better instead of having these two separate things.”
After seeing a performance of the U Ballroom Dance Team, she began to follow their performances in hopes of finding new subjects for her ongoing art.
“I take scads of photographs,” Horne said about how she was able to capture such unique movements. “I’m really informed about the dance itself, so when I go to develop the composition, I can know what to look for. I’m not looking to do a photographic reproduction — that doesn’t interest me. I’m just looking to pick elements of the composition and then use the background I have in dance itself to know if it feels right.”
The display will be ongoing. As pieces leave for other art galleries and collectors’ homes, more pieces will be created to replace them. The gallery is located at 142 E. 800 S. in and is open Wednesday through Friday from noon to 6 p.m., Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. or by appointment.