The Bountiful/Davis Art Center’s Illustration Utah! competition and upcoming exhibit, which opens Jan. 15 and runs through Feb. 16, celebrates the work of artists who create something special in the names of books, magazines, and even ad campaigns. The winners in each of the categories – editorial, advertising/institutional, book, uncommissioned and student – show the ability of illustrations to illuminate the world around us.
“When an illustration fights its way past all the restrictions and compromises, and reaches a state of magic, I truly think it is high art,” said Don Weller, the juror for the competition. “The illustrators that produce that quality art have my respect and esteem.”
The editorial award went to Mark Robison’s “Feeling Scared?” a piece that ran in The Ensign with a related article. The original version, with a floor that stretches on forever to make room for the article, is almost elegant in its simplicity. The little boy’s wide eyes leap out at you, and the eternal empty floor adds a surprising edge of spookiness.
The advertising/institutional winner was Perry Stewart’s “Reading is Cool,” a beautifully rendered scene that makes reading seem absolutely magical. The details elevate it even further, particularly the subtle glow emanating from the pages.
Houston Trueblood's “Provo Nocturne,” which snagged the competition’s student award, takes a quiet nighttime scene and imbues it with drama and almost menace. “Dinner Mice,” the uncommissioned winner by Richard Hull, goes the other direction with a fun, whimsical city straight out of the imagination.
In the book category, Sherry Meidell’s “Bundled” took first prize with a simple, sweet painting that perfectly captures the friendship between a little black girl and a little white girl. The zebra standing behind them does double duty of metaphorical depth and an extra dose of whimsy that makes me want to read the story it came from.
The Best in Show award, the exhibit’s top prize, went to Greg Newbold’s “Unburdened.” It shows a farmer sheering a sheep by hand, face hidden beneath the wide brim of his hat as the shorn wool billows downward into a huge, soft pile. Bathed in warm light and capturing the sheer physicality of the act in the farmer’s strong stance and bunched up muscles of his arms, it seems like the perfect illustration of a single moment of life.