contemporary art salon

City Weekly, February 3, 2010

Emilie Duval, Bunnies in Wonderland Friday 2.5 By Brian Staker

As one of the newest and most unusual artistic venues in Salt Lake City, the Livingroom—art hung in the living room of a suburban Holladay home—has established itself in the local art scene. The first two shows there seemed to be providing a basic introduction to modes of artistic vision; the initial exhibit with Two Colorists examining the spectrum of visible hues and January’s East Coast Meets West Coast abstractionist shapes mining a microcosm of near-monochromatic sheer composition.

The “contemporary art salon” seems to be building up steam for something with a more provocative, political edge to it, like Livingroom co-founder qi peng is known for at his previous venue, IAO Projects. Bunnies in Wonderland, by the French-born artist Emilie Duval, who is currently living in Texas, features political/environmental paintings from her series “Extremely Unlikely,” as well as video art pieces, “My Big Pink Fck… Bunny” and “My BPFB is Mad at Me,” mixing hints of violence with images of consumerist culture in a barren environment. The recontextualizing of these elements merges the familiar, banal and sinister in a way that defies attempts to resolve the cognitive dissonance.

Duval will also be creating an installation work on site, inspired by the motif of the “BPFB” and its nexus of desire, greed and fear personified, in addition to experimental video projections. The elements of satire in these works masks, but is also the entry point, into something much more volatile.

Emilie Duval, Bunnies in Wonderland @ The Livingroom, 2105 Fardown Ave., 801- 987-0244, Feb. 5-27

City Weekly, January 20, 2010

Charles Fresquez & James Huckenpahler: East Coast Meets West Coast
Friday 1.22
By Brian Staker

For a long time, it was all about the coasts in the American art world. The vast chasm in between was consigned to landscapes, Norman Rockwell-type sentimental kitsch and various iterations. The urban artistic vernacular was—and still is, to large extent—more minimalist, succinct, postmodern and theoretical; it was about the artistic process more than the ostensible object. But artists from the “Left Coast” are more “Hollywood,” if only in the sense that their “negative capability”—to borrow a poetic term—is that of the arid palm-laden vista rather than the compacted skyscraper. Two artists from opposite sides of the country mount a show of works that find an uncommon kind of balance.

Washington, D.C.-based James Huckenpahler creates artwork that appears to be an instructional TV show from the pre-color era. Digital paintings constructed of black, white and gray forms complete a rhythmic geometry and an interior landscape. Their limited tonal hue creates an otherworldly depth. Their density is somehow as lyrical as a jazz improvisation.

Minimalist painter Charles Fresquez lives and works in Albuquerque, N.M. His luminous cast-acrylic and enamel works, including parallel and perpendicular lines of pastel hues, make multiple allusions to: the neon sculptures of Dan Flavin, West Coast minimalists, formal structures of electronic music like Kraftwerk, but perhaps most of all, the sun-bleached desert expanses of his home state. His Southwest is far from Huckenpahler’s coastal plains yet is connected by its sheer geographical scale.

Charles Fresquez & James Huckenpahler @ The Livingroom, 2105 Fardown Ave., 801- 987-0244, through Jan. 22

City Weekly, December 2, 2009

The Livingroom Grand Opening
Friday, Dec. 4, 3–8 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 5
By Brian Staker

Where does art live? Usually in the sterile atmosphere of the museum or gallery, set aside from the rest of the environment we live in, affixed to the wall like dead butterflies on stick pins—fragile and untouchable.

Local artist qi peng—curator of the recently defunct IAO Projects Gallery—has long had unconventional ideas about where art lives. At IAO Projects, he was instrumental in promoting that gallery’s artists online and traveling to where the audience was, like September’s Beyond the Border Art Fair in San Diego.

But then, IAO Projects didn’t have much choice, with a 10x10-foot office space downtown. The Livingroom is what its name suggests—a livingroom in a Holladay home, giving the art space to breathe and feel at home on the wall, less constantly in transit. Livingroom Co-Director Julie Dunker, herself an abstract painter, has transformed part of her home into a place to see art in a more comfortable setting.

Some of the artists at the gallery are carryovers from IAO Projects: abstract urbanist Jon Coffelt (work pictured), German collage artist Sibyll Kalff, Polish watercolorist Rafal Karcz, vintage text manipulator Kay Tuttle and qi peng, with his conceptual art. Joining them are Brooklyn minimalist Vincent Como, Weber State University professor Matthew Choberka, Texas artist Emilie Duval, minimal abstractionist Charles Fresquez and Dunker herself. The mix of Utah and international artists is intended to create a cosmopolitan roster that our locale can find a place in and not feel marginalized.

The Livingroom Grand Opening @ 2105 Fardown Ave, 505-228-1268, Friday, Dec. 4, 3–8 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 5, 10 a.m.–3 p.m.; or by appointment through Dec. 19.

Excerpt from 15 Bytes, December 2009 article "South Side Rising: More Artistic Development on Salt Lake's South Side" by Shawn Rossiter

"This move outside of downtown is a phenomenon you see in many cities. Artists and galleries generally move out of a downtown area because the rents become too expensive. They look to find areas where spaces are cheaper and the location is still accessible to the art-loving public (the irony is that they move in and transform the neighborhoods, which pushes the rents up and once again forces the artists to look for new locations).

Artists Julie Dunker and qi peng may be anticipating rising rents in Sugarhouse because they have located their new art venture even further south -- Holladay. On Friday, December 4, the two artists will launch The Livingroom, a contemporary art salon in -- yes you guessed it -- a living room (there aren't too many warehouses, vacant or otherwise, in Holladay).|2| The space is located at 2105 Fardown Avenue and the inaugural exhibit features work by Jon Coffelt and Matthew Choberka. Coffelt is a New York conceptual artist who will show his duct-tape on Tyvek paintings from his "Circuitry" series as well as selected pieces of scaled-down clothing from his "Memory Clothing" series. Matthew Choberka is an experimental abstract painter who teaches at Weber State. In his paintings, the artist expresses a masterful confidence in depicting the dichotomy between organic and geometric painting that hearkens to the "conflict" between abstract expressionism and geometric minimalism during the 1960's. The opening reception for the show is Friday, December 4th from 3 to 11 pm. The exhibit continues through December 19."