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The Utah Museum of Fine Arts Presents salt 2: Sophie Whettnall
Sophie Whettnall (b. 1973) traveled from Brussels to Salt Lake City to personally install three works.
SALT LAKE CITY, UT.- The Utah Museum of Fine Arts (UMFA) presents salt 2: Sophie Whettnall, the second in the museum’s new series of exhibitions showcasing innovative art from around the world. salt aims to reflect the international impact of contemporary art today, forging local connections to the global, and bringing new and diverse artwork to the city that shares the program’s name.

Organized by Jill Dawsey, UMFA acting chief curator and curator of modern and contemporary art, the second salt installation opens on November 18, 2010 and will remain on view through February 27, 2011 in the Marcia and John Price Museum Building at the University of Utah. The exhibition is located in and around a newly designed black box gallery on the UMFA’s first floor.

Featured artist Sophie Whettnall (b. 1973) traveled from Brussels to Salt Lake City to personally install three works: a video, a video installation, and a large-scale wall drawing. Whettnall works primarily in photography, video, performance, and site-specific installations, yet she is trained as a painter and much of her work takes up landscape, portraiture, and other themes traditionally associated with painting. Across and between mediums, Whettnall’s art explores the relationship between the self and its surroundings in a dislocated world.

A highlight of salt 2: Sophie Whettnall is Waterfall (2008), an installation that features a video projection in the UMFA’s black box gallery. In this work, Whettnall engages the temporal nature of video, creating images that move between stillness and activity. At first glance, Waterfall resembles a still photograph of a frozen waterfall. Upon closer inspection, however, one sees that a river slowly moves in real time at the foot of the falls, enhanced by strange sounds that crackle and echo through the landscape.

Whettnall continues these themes of movement and time with a drawing on the outside wall of the salt 2: Sophie Whettnall gallery. Executed in white pencil on black paint, the untitled drawing may suggest an abstract river, with repeated parallel lines eventually converging in ripples and waves. Resembling a topographical map, this drawing will also record the artist’s own gestures as she draws.

Another gesture is traced through a third work of art in salt 2: Sophie Whettnall. In the video Over the Sea (2007), viewers follow the determined footsteps of a woman in high heels as she makes her way from an urban space to a quiet spot overlooking the sea. At the conclusion of the video, the camera moves quickly between her heels to rest on the sight of the ocean, highlighting the human figure as a meeting point between nature and culture, public and private, self and surrounds.

salt 2: Sophie Whettnall is the artist’s first solo exhibition in the United States . Whettnall has had many solo exhibitions throughout Europe, and has been included in numerous group exhibitions in France, Spain, China, Italy, and Belgium.

The UMFA’s salt series affirms the Museum’s commitment to the art of today and tomorrow, demonstrating that contemporary art is vital, dynamic, and socially relevant.

The Utah Museum of Fine Arts | Sophie Whettnall | Jill Dawsey |


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