02 Mar Public Art in Katherine’s Courtyard
By Luke Leither
This year the Katherine W. Dumke Fine Arts & Architecture Library was proud to sponsor two public art pieces in Katherine’s Courtyard. Two students from the University’s College of Fine Arts were selected based on their submissions to our call for proposals. These students, Nate Francis and Ryne Ormond, were mentored by faculty in the Studio Arts program and installed their work at the beginning of the semester. Below please read their artist statements and see some photos, then plan on visiting Katherine’s Courtyard to see these fantastic pieces in person. Congratulations Nate and Ryne!
Queer Visibility: Disrupting Public Space
Queer Visibility is a photographic work that explores ideas of queer solitude in a place where representation is uncommon. The work disrupts the standard of public artwork in Utah by inserting a queer body into public space. Medium and large format film is used to capture close-up images of the body that are then pieced together to create a fragmented whole. This fragmentation addresses the experience of being subject to the scrutiny of Utah’s culture, expectations, and popular religion, which are often unwelcoming to queer-identifying people. Queer Visibility depicts pain and sorrow, endurance and reconstruction, and demands representation by placing the queer body in public space.
Nate Francis is a student at the University of Utah’s College of Fine Arts and will graduate in Spring 2021 with a BFA in Photography & Digital Imaging and a minor in Sculpture Intermedia.
I create work that falls into three categories: works that in one way or another lies to either the viewer or themselves, making the work contradictory and function like a visual pun, work that discusses the individual and their place in society, either mentally or physically, or work that aims to find myself in my position in society, either mentally or physically.
Ephemeral Elephant falls into the second and third categories. This work plays on the common phrase “ignoring the elephant in the room” through the use of plexiglass. The work is a simplified form of an elephant which consists of hard edges and planes. This is due to the fact that the artwork is asking for the viewers to do something that is hard to do; they are to willingly bring to mind a concern that they intentionally ignore. The elephant is see-through because of this fact as well. The work is interactive through which the audience takes notice of the elephant and “gives” it solidification.
This takes place when one follows the instructions and inserts a folded piece of paper with their personal “elephant in the room” written down. The work is not meant to offer a solution to their concerns, but rather act as a way to relieve the viewer of something that gives them stress. By acknowledging one’s concerns or fears, one is able to process why they have them. This opens up the possibility to the individual to think about their concern and begin to think of ways to remedy the situation, or the work acts only as an outlet. Either way, the elephant will take form and it is the viewer’s discretion to do so intentionally or to allow it to continue to weigh on them.
Luke Leither | Assistant Head of Creativity & Innovation Services
Creativity & Innovation Services / Fine Arts & Architecture Library