Contemporary Reactions: Church vs. State

After making a spontaneous trip to UMOCA, Salt Lake City native Leah Klein was thrilled to see the diversity that exists within the local art scene.

“Coming to UMOCA has helped expose me to some really interesting local and non-local contemporary art in our community,” said Klein.

Klein went on to explain that her favorite piece within the museum was Valerie Atkisson’s Hanging Family History (Maternal Line). Klein explained that she liked this piece because it immediately caught her eye when she entered the Church vs. State exhibition. She described the work as “odd yet beautiful” and appreciated the effort and the time that went into making the piece.

DSC_0138Hanging Family History is a large and intricate installation composed of copper wire, rice paper, and pencil. Atkisson created this piece to learn more about her family and where she came from by compiling and visualizing the names of her ancestors through 72 generations. The resulting portrait of her DNA acts as a contemporary family tree. As Atkisson states, “My work is a continuation of them…the remembrance is also an extension of their life.”

“Even though I’m from here, I was unaware of the art scene in Salt Lake,” said Klein. Luckily for her, she visited UMOCA just in time to catch the final week of Church vs. State. The exhibition highlights the collections of art from the LDS Church and the Utah Division of Arts and Museums, two of the strongest influencers of Utah culture. The collections oppose and support each other, yet both are dedicated to showcasing local artists and expanding Utah’s art scene.

Written by Tory Guilfoyle

Church vs. State is on exhibition in the UMOCA Street Gallery through April 11.