Voiceless (Artifactual Utah). approximately 24″ by 30″, mixed media collage.
This piece was selected to be shown in the 2013 Annual Statewide Competition, which was limited to mixed media, prints and drawings on paper, organized by the Utah Arts & Museums division and was displayed that fall at the Rio Gallery in the old Rio Grande Railway Depot in Utah at the west end of 300 South in downtown Salt Lake.
This collage combines a bunch of iconic (or should-be-iconic) pre-Columbian artifacts in Utah. The pinkish and brown background depicts various figures from two well-known petroglyph panels, Newspaper Rock and Buckhorn Wash. The drawn figures in the foreground are a number of 3-D artifacts in the collection of the Utah Museum of Natural History. I chose “Voiceless” as a title because I admire or envy that the originals depicted here have resisted or escaped the denaturing and rendering visual art suffers when it is narrated. There are various art historical and anthropological theories that may attempt to explain what these images are “about” or what the makers’ intentions were. But the accounts are obviously speculative. And from an aesthetic perspective, large irrelevant. I don’t know what the artists were up to, but their artifacts are visually entrancing qua visual objects and suffice as such. It is enough narrative for me that for some unknown reasons artists would represent people and animals thusly.