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Monday, August 5, 2013

Justin Wheatley and Aaron Ashcraft exhibit @ Salt Lake City Arts Council (SLC: Aug. 9-Sept. 27)


Salt Lake City-- Two new exhibitions at the Finch Lane Gallery explore the theme of relationships. Justin Wheatley’s mixed media installation Salt Lake City: Chain Link and Welcome Mats examines the city from an east side/west side perspective, while Aaron Ashcraft’s sculptured ceramics focus on the relationship of textures found in nature in his exhibition called Conversations. The exhibitions run August 9 through September 27, with an artists’ reception on Friday, August 9 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. Regular gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. with additional evening hours during the Salt Lake Gallery Stroll on August 16 and September 20, from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. All events are free of charge.

Justin Wheatley has lived in Salt Lake City for the past seven years and now calls it home. For the last few years, Wheatley has been creating a body of work about Salt Lake City and these pieces will be exhibited at the Finch Lane Gallery. Though the show lacks imagery of people, the people of Salt Lake City are the subject of it. Salt Lake City: Chain Link and Welcome Mats explores the different sides of our city, where people are welcomed and also where they are asked to keep out. Wheatley uses photos, acrylic paint, and collage to create these works.

Wheatley says of his work, “During the day I spend time as an artist and teacher with students on the west side. Many of them are struggling financially. Through exhibiting my work I have become acquainted with many people from the east side who are financially more stable. Both sides of the city are full of good people. Both sides have many secrets.” This exhibition explores and exploits some of those secrets.

Wheatley’s recent exhibitions include the 2013 Spring Salon at the Springville Museum of Art, the 2013 35 x 35 exhibition at the Finch Lane Gallery, the Bountiful/Davis Art Center, and a 2010 solo show at the Kimball Art Center. He was named an “Artist to Watch” in Southwest Art Magazine in 2011. Wheatley’s studio is located at Poor Yorick Studios and he is represented by Coda Gallery in Park City, the 15th Street Gallery, and at Evergreen Gallery.

Although he has been working in ceramics for many years, Aaron Ashcraft began a new series in 2011. This work was begun by drawing on flat slabs of soft clay with a variety of tools and media, replicating textures found in nature. Dark brown iron bearing clay was brushed with white slip clay, and the interaction of the two clays provides greater sense of depth when fired in the kiln. Additional black brush lines compliment the textured marks in the clay. Glazes provide contrasting areas of color and smoother textures. Ash sprinkled on the surface adds a final layer.

Three dimensional works quickly followed the slab pieces and stiff, angular forms began to turn and twist with cutout sections to mimic the human form. Ashcraft notes, “It’s all about creating a dense combination of textures, glazes and colors that enhance form and make the viewer look closer, spending some time to really understand what’s going on.” He invites viewers to join the “conversations” happening within each piece.

Ashcraft serves on the boards of the Red Kiln Clay Studio and Gallery and Clay Arts, Utah. He recently exhibited at Art Access Gallery with his 2013 exhibitionBiomimicry, at the 2012 Utah Statewide Show at the Rio Gallery, and with the Clay Arts Utah Group Show in 2012 at the Patrick Moore Gallery. He is currently represented by galleries in Arizona and Colorado, and at Patrick Moore Gallery in Salt Lake.

Who:               Artists Justin Wheatley and Aaron Ashcraft
What:              Finch Lane Gallery Exhibitions
When:             August 9 through September 27, 2013
Where:                       Art Barn, 54 Finch Lane in Reservoir Park

Finch Lane Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and during monthly gallery strolls from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. For additional information, contact the Salt Lake City Arts Council, 801.596.5000 or visit www.slcgov.com/arts.

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