BY JENNIFFER WARDELL
Clipper Staff Writer
FARMINGTON – How much does our culture shape who we become?
That’s one of the questions asked by the Bountiful/Davis Art Center’s new “Conversations in Culture” exhibit, running now through Aug. 30 on the second floor of the Memorial Courthouse in Farmington. The exhibit features work by artists born in several different countries, and while there are no definitive answers, it offers plenty of food for thought.
There’s not an immense amount of cultural variety in Davis County, or even in Utah, so this is one of the art center’s sparsest shows. Most of the artists that do make an appearance, however, offer up strong work that carries a distinct sense of the artistic traditions that helped shape their work.
Wojciech Albert Wozniak, from Poland, paints bright scenes in the folk art tradition. In “Dive,” the canvas brims with energy as a group of villagers jostle together in a tangle of limbs and emotions. Pilar Pobel, from Spain, paints huge, vividly colored works with the kind of passion I normally associate with South America.
Eastern artists generally take a more serene approach to their work, focusing on the subtle shadings of ink and light. Eiko Tonami Anderson, originally from Japan, offers a beautifully classic ink painting of cranes winging their way over still water. Van Chu, a Vietnamese artists, modernizes the concept with his archival pigment prints. Here, swirls of ink evoke dragons and ghost trees even more subtly than Anderson’s work.
Other artists call on their cultural heritage even more directly. Radford Cuch, a Native American, combines beadwork and CDs to create art that serves as a bridge between the old and new. JJ Galacia, from Mexico, creates complicated, richly detailed metalwork pieces that would look right at home on the walls of any Aztec temple.
Culture, however, isn’t artistic destiny. Yevgeniy Zolotsev, a Russian artist, has contributed a collection of breezy, sun-soaked work that seems to carry the spirit of somewhere in South America. Particularly magnificent is “Dance of Fire,” a blur of oranges and reds that portrays a group of dancers at their most powerful and commanding.