Mark Knudsen, Leslie Thomas and Roberta Glidden Exhibit at Phillips Gallery
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format_align_left OverviewReminiscent of a southern Utah road trip, Knudsen and Thomas’ landscapes capture the vast panorama of the desert.Mark Knudsen studied fine art at the University of Utah in 1969 and ‘70. Soon after, he took a position in the Art department at the Salt Lake Tribune and became Head of Design Features in 1989. In 2004, he retired to become a full-time artist. He now spends his time in the studio painting alongside his wife and fellow artist, Leslie Thomas.“It is my feeling that the desert country of the American West is too large, too wild, too gorgeous to be encompassed by traditional landscape painting. Our inherited aesthetic defines beauty in landscape as green and arable land or grand, breathtaking places. I feel the need to expand that definition. I want to portray the desert as it is right now; to dispense with the limitations of what has come before, to quietly point out the beauty of places that are harsh and forbidding to habitation but express an aesthetic of the wild. I strive to go beyond the sentimentality that often defines our images of the West. The scale of many of my pieces (an extreme horizontal of two feet by 7 or 8 feet) is a compositional strategy to capture the vastness of these places.” – M. KnudsenLeslie Thomas returned to painting after working 20 years as a computer engineer. She has since studied painting under Mark Knudsen, Don Doxey, James McBeth, Tony Smith, Dave Dornan, Paul Davis, and Susan Gallacher. Under Knudsen's tutelage, a deeper relationship grew and soon the two were married. Painting is their passion, and it is all they want to do, whether it is touring the Intermountain West, or working in their Sugar House or Moab studios.About her work, Thomas says “Although, or maybe because, I have lived many years elsewhere, the beauty of my native state has always been my ideal. The Utah landscape - so much of it not for our use, not to our scale - has been my central experience of the beauty in this world. I want to make paintings that reflect this western land, not comprehended by faith or theory, but odd and beautiful, delicious to the eye and to the heart.”“In this couple’s work, the land, the light, even the geology, is thoroughly understood and enticingly interpreted.” – Ann PooreRoberta Glidden has studied under Doug Braithwaite, David Dornan, and Paul Davis at the Helper School, John Hughes at Salt Lake Community College, David Koch, and John Poon. Now, she occasionally teaches others.“Most of my landscape studies form a pandemic travelogue of favorite western places. In line with my training, many are on-site studies as well as the subsequent studio version of the same view. Others are pure invention. It is remarkable how time stops when you stand still and stare for hours, paintbrush in hand. An ordinary tree becomes an elegant sculpture.”Also, don’t miss Dave Hall’s coinciding artist’s reception for his exhibit across the street at Evolutionary Health Care.Phillips Gallery, celebrating Utah artists since 1965.