‘Closing Shift’ at the University of Utah’s Gittins Gallery


Closing Shift (Image courtesy of University of Utah Department of Art & Art History)

By Haley Freeman, Arts Writer


As an engineering major, I hardly ever find myself in the University of Utah’s art or architecture buildings. After double checking I was in the correct building, I found myself greeted by the warm sunlight and impressive artwork of the “Closing Shift” exhibit in the Gittins Gallery.

Closing Shift

The “Closing Shift” exhibit showcases four artists — Matalyn Zundel, Baylee Shupe, Sammy Dunaway and London Matthews. This exhibit was a collaboration between the artists, all of which graduated from the U within a semester of each other this past 2022 school year.

Shupe and I discussed inspirations for the show, to which she said “we all have developed our own unique styles over our time with the U of U art department that we wanted to showcase. We all generally lean towards drawing the figure, and that was the big focus of ours.” Shupe also highlighted the importance of collaboration when it came to this show and how working with fellow artists helped her artistry.

Sammy Dunaway

“Shadow” by artist Sammy Dunaway (Photo by Haley Freeman | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

I moved around the gallery clockwise, starting with Dunaway’s dreamy pastel and gouache works. Though Dunaway’s artworks were the smallest physically in the gallery, the texture and depth Dunaway portrayed in the art came across vividly. The “Daydream Series” depicts frames that could be from a subject’s daily life. We see someone standing in a puddle, the city skyline at night and a plate of orange slices. Giving great attention to simple things made the pieces very effective and the common color scheme connects the works well, visually and tonally.

“Shadow” showcases Dunaway’s expertise when it comes to blending colors. Here we see a woman and her reflection, or possibly her shadow, yielding a very ominous yet beautiful image.

London Matthews

“Self” by artist London Matthews (Photo by Haley Freeman | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

Against the back wall of the gallery are some of the largest pieces in the room, belonging to Matthews. These paintings are oil on canvas and depict a single subject in still life. Walking up close to these works allows one to especially appreciate the texture and brush strokes made by the oil paints. The way Matthews colors the canvas and blocks out her protagonist is very intriguing. “Self” was my favorite of the trio as I really enjoyed the depth of the canvas and the size of the woman depicted was very impressive.

Baylee Shupe

“With you” by artist Baylee Shupe (Photo by Haley Freeman | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

Shupe’s works were next, using oil like Matthews, but working on linen which added a nice color to her pieces. Shupe also used charcoal and other colors in her work, giving an almost metallic, dimensional look. Shupe said that for her personal pieces, she really wanted to play with the tension of how finished and unfinished she could make a piece and how much detail or lack of detail felt right to her as an artist. “Hopes & Dreams” shows details that range from traces in the background to the developed texture of the subject’s T-shirt and hair. The blue color at the top of the painting contrasts nicely with the water reflection in the foreground, adding a nice depth to the painting.

Matalyn Zundel

“Sunday School” by artist Matalyn Zundel (Photo by Haley Freeman | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

Zundel’s artwork takes up the corner nearest to the entrance of the gallery and incorporates the most vivid assortment of colors of the exhibit, incorporating two subjects in each of their works. I particularly enjoyed the natural and realistic qualities Zundel was able to capture between her painting’s subjects. I felt at times that I was looking at two real people and how they occupied space, whether that be the porch of their house or the space between the subjects themselves. “Sunday School” is an oil on canvas that uses a beautiful marigold yellow color to fill in texture and depth. I enjoyed the intimacy of “Safety,” which portrayed the liveliness of the subjects while bringing a softness with the light blue around the painting, adding depth similar to the marigold in “Sunday School.”


This engineering major had a wonderful time at our own Gittin’s Gallery and can’t recommend enough that other STEM students make it out of the dark computer labs to find some light in the University of Utah Art Department’s halls.


[email protected]