At cityhomeCOLLECTIVE, we love any excuse to support a great cause (and if that excuse happens to include tipping back a glass of vino or two and rubbing elbows with the likes of you, all the better). The annual UMOCA Gala allows supporters of this city's art scene a chance to give back and raise a ruckus, all in one fabulous location (and it's for that very reason that the fete is one of our favorites). Last year's event (themed Diamond Horseshoe Roundup) was a glittering good time--cocktails were had, mechanical bulls were ridden, and funds were raised for the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art (win, win, win). We were chomping at the bit to get gussied up in our finest denim goods last year, but this year's theme has us straight ravenous. The title is "Vicious" (which is defined by the UMOCA Gala's Art Director Gary Vlasic as "What anarchy's like as it applies to being in 2015"), and all told, we hope it's total chaos. For the first time, the event will be held at a venue apart from the museum itself--"the gala is moving out of UMOCA's esoteric white walls and into the noisier and grungier black walls of The Complex". X96's Bill Allred will emcee, and DJ Jeffery Hacker will be on the 1s and 2s. This year, attendees will be treated to two live shows: a punk-chic fashion show (with pieces by "several designers, architects, and artists"), and two sets performed by contemporary art punks Foster Body ("a swirling mass of noise, aesthetic, and performance"). Let's mix, mingle, and mosh in the name of modern art (and raise some funds for a damn good cause while we're at it). Wave the black flag and grab your band of misfits; slap on the studs you haven't worn since middle school, mix 'em with some cufflinks or pumps (or both), and get to The Complex on Saturday, June 6th for some stylish social distortion.
As always, the Gala will kick off with a silent auction, which spans two weeks and features pieces from a few fabulously-talented artists (mobile bidding will begin the same day the exhibit opens--May 22nd--and is open until the Gala on June 6th). Two of the featured artists, Kyle Jorgensen and Lenka Konopasek, chatted with us on why (and how) they do what they do. Read what they had to say below, then scroll a touch further to see some photos from last year's fantastically-fun gala. Then click the links below, make a few goodly bids, purchase your tickets, and ready your costume/ensemble ready for a viciously good time.
UMOCA Gala | Saturday, June 6th, 6:00pm | The Complex, 536 W. 100 S., SLC
Kyle Jorgensen, Corpora (above)
In just a few sentences, what is your work about? My work is about relationships between the physical and metaphysical as well as analog and digital relationships. I am currently exploring the illusionary aspects [of] digital "painting" and animation. I'm fascinated how lifeless objects or marks can create the illusion of life or movement, and am making work based on these processes.
How has living in Utah affected your work? My paintings dry a lot faster than they did in Oregon, that's for sure. But I would say that I've grown more as an artist here in Utah than I have in any other place I've lived. I've been able to form relationships with some really intelligent creative minds and those relationships have informed and challenged my practice. It's made me want to experiment more and helped me question what exactly it is that I've been trying to accomplish in my studio. Living in Utah has also allowed me to afford a decent-sized studio space which is super important for me to have. It's beautiful here, and to top it off it's a fairly affordable place to live. I love the ability to access outdoor adventures within a few minutes from downtown. It's hard not to be inspired by this place. I really do love it here.
What motivates you to get to your studio every day? What inspires you (or who, for that matter)? I love to work. It really doesn't take much for me to want to get into my studio. I think having a million crummy jobs, many of which I've dreaded, is great motivation for me to get into the studio and work. Also caffeine. I'm inspired by friends and other artists. I love Tom Sachs' work, David Byrne, Tomokazu Matsuyama, I really dig Christopher Derek Bruno's lenticular pieces he's making right now, I also dig 70's sci-fi paintings. But I think music is the most inspirational thing to me. It's pure emotion. It's intangible, yet when it enters people's ears and permeates their brains, it moves them to tears or to joy or anger. I think that power is extremely difficult to replicate in the visual arts, and essentially it's just vibrations at different frequencies. I'm also inspired by space exploration and astronomy. Four or five years ago I saw the Hubble Telescope IMAX film, and it was this strange, out of body, almost-metaphysical experience. I've never felt so minuscule yet so grateful for my own existence.
Lenka Konpasek, Breaking Point (above)
In just a few sentences, what is your work about? For the past several years my work has been focusing on natural and manmade disasters in parallel with my own sense of personal loss and fears. My work addresses issues of longevity, consequences of human behavior, differences in cultures and national attitudes. It is based on the depictions of various disasters in the mass media. I am interested in the conflict of conscience during these edgy situations and its consequences. I like to emphasize the contrast between a first glance appearance of the strangely beautiful image and my fascination with them and the harsh consequences of the disasters depicted in them.
How has living in Utah affected your work? I came to Utah after living in Czechoslovakia and Germany. It took me a while to adjust to living here. I think the most interesting element for me is Utah’s vastness and natural beauty. It is also the contradiction between sustaining urban development and preserving natural environments. The problem of Salt Lake City bad air is becoming worse every year and very little is being done to change it. It is inescapable and it feeds in my own anxieties. My work reflects this anxiety.
What motivates you to get to your studio every day? What inspires you (or who, for that matter)? My studio time is the most precious time. It is also my sanity. I never have to force myself to go to my studio. For me it is exciting just to be there even though there are moments of frustration. There is always something new I really want to do in the studio. I often lie in bed and think about what I will do the next day. I call it my brain storming sessions. I love to make things.