‘When Evening Has Passed and Tomorrow Comes’ Exhibition Inspires and Reflects Utopia

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Saya Woolfalk’s “Encyclopedia of Cloud Divination” (Plates 1-3) at Kimball Art Center. (Photo by Luke Jackson | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Luke Jackson, Arts Writer

 

“Utopia” in and of itself is an interesting concept. First written by Sir Thomas More, the word is essentially a combination of the Greek words for “good place” and “no place.” A utopia presents itself as a place of perfection and peace and, contradictorily, as a place that can’t really exist.

But if a utopia is unachievable, what then is the point of describing and exploring it? The Kimball Art Center in Park City has dedicated their new exhibition “When Evening Has Passed and Tomorrow Comes” to not only answering this question, but further exploring the concept of utopia.

The exhibit brings together works from four artists — Ruby Onyinyechi Amanze, Nicola López, Cauleen Smith and Saya Woolfalk — each of whom bring their own unique views on utopia. Their work explores their own personal utopian spaces and further inspires us to picture a more luminous future.

Experiencing the Exhibition

I made the drive up to Park City by myself on Sunday to explore the exhibition. As expected, Park City was bustling with couples and families taking in the sunshine and beauty afforded by the location. As I entered the Kimball Art Center, I was met with an unexpected silence. Afraid the exhibit was closed, I cautiously stepped forward. A very kind worker invited me in and encouraged me to take my time with each piece of art.

Being the only patron in the gallery allowed me to have an interesting and uniquely introspective experience with the pieces present. I moved slowly, trying to focus my energy on the art and what emotions it was evoking. I found myself touched and in awe by each artist’s individual take on utopia.

Amanze, with her wonderful use of blank space, caused me to consider finding utopia within the mundane.

Smith prompted me to reflect on my literary heroes and the authors who shaped my worldview, bringing my childhood inspirations to the forefront.

López moved me to consider nature’s role in our society’s future. Can utopia be reached only if we learn to move with the rapid changing of nature? Perhaps true joy comes from embracing nature’s whims instead of constantly trying to stay one step ahead.

View of Tomorrow

While all the pieces brought beauty and inspiration, it was Woolfalk’s immersive piece “Empathic Cloud Divination Room” which touched me the most. It brought a silence to my overall experience which moved me to contemplate the role of religion and spirituality in utopia.

It transported me to a place of love, tolerance and learning where what mattered most was not my theology, but an environment of discussion and learning. No picture or description can do this room justice — it is something that simply needs to be experienced.

As I concluded my time at the Kimball Art Center, I reflected again on the purpose of utopia. Regardless of the reality of a perfectly peaceful society, I was able to find inspiration in the notion. Who cares if we will never achieve literal perfection as a society? If we put aside our egos and come together with love and tolerance, won’t the effort be worth it?

I know it sounds like a Hallmark card, but in a world full of division and hatred, “When Evening Has Passed and Tomorrow Comes” offers a reflective and rejuvenating safe haven where a better world doesn’t seem so far away.

 

The exhibit is free of charge and running at the Kimball Art Center until June 13, 2021.

 

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