Lamplight Gallery in Bountiful (170 S. Main) is once again celebrating that spirit of freedom and experimentation with this year’s “Out of the Box” exhibit, which will be on display now through the end of January. The exhibit, which is collected mostly on the back wall but has individual pieces scattered throughout the top floor, focuses on work by artists stretching beyond their usual subjects or mediums.
Mostly, the tone is incredibly playful. One artist (many of the works on display aren’t signed) used found objects such as a flattened pop can and a piece of an old door to create a bug-eyed girl with corkscrew spring curls. Scott Durrant created a mobile that hangs near the entryway to the gallery, a delicate interplay of beads and geometric shapes that glimmers with the deep, rich colors of gemstones and sparkles when the light hits it just right. Colleen Parker’s “Fantasy” is a free-form confection that seems to contain every color of the rainbow, surrounded by sinuous bubbles that make the viewer feel as though they’ve just plunged into a magical ocean.
Photographer Louise Shaw contributed a painting she’d done of one of her photographs, displayed alongside the original photo and a funny, insightful list titled “Things I learned while pretending to be a painter.”
Though several of the bullet points make it clear that Shaw probably won’t be returning to the medium – she says that the first thing she learned about her painting is that “it’s a great way to ruin a good photograph” – it’s clear the experience was its own adventure. The knowing frustration of her third entry on the list made me laugh: “it’s all about color – and the color you get once, you’ll never get again.”
Other artists also took the chance to stretch beyond the mediums, though their own adventures were harder to recognize for those not familiar with their usual work. Artist Nicole Kamanski normally paints horses, but here translated that same Western spirit into a necklace of turquoise, silver, and a sunset-orange stone I didn’t recognize.
Merrily Kulmer, who I knew mostly from her boldly colored abstract paintings, shows off her talents in a more realistic medium with a collection of photographs capturing a mountain goat in a quiet moment. In this case, however, it may simply be an introduction to a side of her I’ve never seen before – photographers say that capturing animals in the wild without startling them can be a real challenge.
Though the small wooden building sitting at the base of the exhibit seems like a toy at first, a closer look reveals the true reach and imagination of the nameless artist. It turns out that the model is a vision for the expanded Lamplight Gallery, in a world where there was suddenly enough money and an entire corner lot to develop. My favorite part is the rooftop garden, complete with benches for observation.
“Remember,” writes the artist. “Visual art includes not only painting, printing, sculpture, pottery, and photography, but also the structures they build and the influences they have on how they live our lives.”
Taken together, it seems to say that just because you’re getting out of the box doesn’t mean you can’t build yourself an even better one while you’re out there.