University of Utah BFA Featured Art Award
Each spring, a new group of art students leaves the school-structured discipline of art education and enters the working world as painters, sculptors, graphic designers, photographers and mixed media artists.
This spring, University of Utah Bachelors of Fine Arts students produced an exhibit in the upstairs gallery space at Trolley Square, showcasing the graduating seniors’ work. Produced by students Cheryl Sandoval and Nathaneal Read, the exhibit was free and open to the public April 21-30.
As a sponsor of this year’s Senior Class Exhibit, CATALYST awarded two students the opportunity to have their work published in the magazine. We selected Christian Clarke and Nathaneal Read.
In my most recent work, I use imagery and characters from my family’s history, as well as historical figures, to create my own imaginative visual record. I do not want to replicate historical narratives and images, but rather use their influence in inventing my own short stories. Each invented narrative in this series of paintings and prints presents an alternative history, containing clues that connect one work to the other. I leave open-ended questions for viewers to answer, encouraging them to extrapolate narratives. Using paint, as well as digital media, I continue to develop my visual record, with plans to investigate new media content, presented in an online format.
My artistic practice is focused on exploring man’s relationship with the Divine by examining the connection between religious ritual and artistic practice. Two dominant elements are patterns and figures, informed by historic Islamic art. Repeated abstract shapes and marks represent behavior, religious or otherwise. Habits, such as prayer, scripture study and church attendance strengthen my spiritual self. In a parallel vein, sketching, rubbing the paper off an acrylic gel medium transfer and mixing paint strengthen my artistic self. These simple tasks contribute in unanticipated, but significant, ways to a greater whole.
Deity’s active hand is often revealed in the form of another person, and divine characteristics and lessons found in imperfect people. Figures are often in quiet spaces where epiphanies dawn. Meaningful art subtly emerges from the mundane of the everyday. My inexact hand is evident as an expression of my involvement in constructing the bridge across the chasm that exists between man and God.