Artists Tyler Willmore, together with artist Molly O’Mara, are both showing at Utah Artist Hands for the upcoming gallery stroll opening; they both use nature to their advantage to express the idea, metaphor in the case of Willmore, and for O’Mara an expression of reductive natural elements that are expressed in a visual, poetic expression. For both artists, this is very much a part of their aesthetic lexicon, and allows for a figural aspect much broader, universal, in scope… and meaning. The gallery has chosen two exceptionally fine artists, each, whose work is a telling of personal experience, overtly, for Willmore, and for O’Mara it is a quiet and hushed use of natural elements; allowing for personal expression manifested in very different methods.
Willmore is a writer and a philosopher as well as a painter, who uses visual metaphor and the written word, to help him map his own reality; every-day situations that life will present. He uses the relationship between what is seen in his landscape, and what is understood in the word, this duality creating a visual and conceptual metaphor, that is an artistic tool for him to grapple with existential moment-to-moments in this unique way. This unique way establishes context as the manufacture of the painting, together with the word, contrived to stimulate the certainty of meaning required.
The Artist’s work in this series is a product of a yearlong research project at the University of Utah Rio Mesa Research Center, just outside of Moab, UT. He states of his experience during this year, it was “an attempt to translate these ideas through images where landscape becomes symbolic of life’s journey and nature becomes representational of greater spiritual influence. It is an attempt to explore the balance outward and internal contextual perspectives as they pertain to the landscape.” The viewer can enjoy the landscapes, together with the conceptual, and thus meaningful layers of significance, with much of the same depth as the artist. These layers of significance, or the contextual synergy experienced by the viewer, are made viable through the image, in this relationship, the metaphorical experience addressed through writing.
“Climbing a hill or mountain though has significant benefits. Once elevated from the ground, the survivalist can see more of the landscape and possibly discover those things that will save his or her life. It may provide shelter, food, or water that was inaccessible at the ground. Once ascended confidence and hope can be renewed. For me this piece is about seeking employment and very significant to recent events in my own life.”
This segment, from a much broader piece of writing, is the artist’s way of expressing something quotidian; an artful exploration of meaning applied to every-day experience such as finding employment. Yet not unlike a map, Willmore paints a lone hill- the landscape is titled “Lone Hill-” and he uses it, as visual metaphor, as well as the writing transcribed, to give this situation reality and truth. The hill is not insurmountable and he is “a survivalist.” But like every life situation, these efforts; employment, for example, need shelter, food and water, and the essential elevation- that ubiquitous something that is required to see from the requisite point-of-view, and the confidence to progress and complete the climb. Simple, poignant, real, and sensitive.
O’Mara’s paintings, as mentioned, have a reductive aesthetic visual appeal, that is, reductive and attractive in their minimal use of form. This begins with a play of this reduced form. For the majority of O’Mara’s works at Utah Artist Hands, much of the focus of these very muted canvases are squared and linear aspens, with no contour or shape, but simple delineated structure; frontal, linear, formalist presentation, with raised relief. Painted as structural, and in a foremost plane, there is a repetition and continuation from either side. There is no implied depth-of-field with the aspens, and as cutouts, given a certain width, each tree is singular or crosses into another, but flat. With these very bold, yet very reduced two-dimensional paintings, giving them life and depth, are washed and gentle hues of greens and mauves and crimson that might recede, but in fact, visually, are one in repetition with the frontal plane and the reduced aspens.
O’Mara canvases are coarse, rustic, and austere, that have a natural beauty and express a poetic vision of nature when juxtaposed with alternating rhythms of tranquil color that create, not so much a literal representation, but a natural narrative of proceeding elements. O’Mara, like Willmore, creates a dialogue through formal, for O’Mara, or conceptual, in the case of Willmore, natural contexts, and in doing so, in an expression of natural elements, if not meaning as such, but relationships that tell a story, manifest and given a sense of being through a synergy, a fundamental articulation of form through metaphor, or for O’Mara, a formal narrative of elements in nature, to unravel a rhythm, and making sense of being; a manifestation in the natural world of which all are a part, white aspens and soft color, side by side, one vertical supporting the other, telling a story, as suggested, elementally, as the context expressed, of repetition and relationships of an unraveled rhythm of life.