Landscapes: The World Around Us

This page lets you go deeper into the exhibition by presenting the artworks with thoughtful questions, additional historical and art historical information, and interesting comparisons.

All supplementary material for the “Landscapes: The World Around Us” is on this page. Scroll to find the image and content you’re looking for.

Mabel Pearl Frazer, "Desert Grandeur," c.1940, painting

Mabel Pearl Frazer (1887-1982), Desert Grandeur, c.1940, oil on canvas, 36 1/2 x 53 inches. Brigham Young University Museum of Art, 1984.

Born and raised in Utah, Mabel Frazer was a graduate of Brigham Young Academy and the University of Utah before continuing her studies in New York at the Art Students League, the School of Industrial Design, and the Beaux Arts Institute of Design between 1916 and 1918. She joined the University of Utah Department of Art faculty in 1920 and remained there until 1953. Her teaching responsibilities at the University of Utah included no less than nine different subject areas including art history, textile design, sculpture, ceramics, serigraphy, design, painting, landscape painting, and human anatomy.

A very independent personality, Frazer valued her education and was devoted to developing her artistic abilities at a very early age. Her sister described her thus: “Her religion and her art took precedence over everything else in her life, she couldn’t be bothered with anyone or anything else”.

Eccentric in some ways, Frazer maintained that she did not belong to any school of art and, despite exposure to various artistic styles, did not allow herself and her purpose as an American artist to become confused. Desert Grandeur captures the bold colors that define southern Utah, the landscape Mabel Frazer called her beloved home.

An artist must have something to say. Art is just another language and the world-be painter should at least learn the rudiments of the language, color, composition, drawing, etc.”

– Mabel Pearl Frazer

 

What is the artist saying in this piece?
What is Frazer attempting to communicate in this work through the language of color and composition?
What influence do the size and scale of this work have on the conversation?
Are we invited to join the dialog? How does the artist either invite or exclude the viewer?

 

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Ann Taylor, "Celerity," 1992, print

Ann Taylor (b.1941), Celerity, 1982, lithograph, 23 x 23 inches. Brigham Young University Museum of Art.

Some art makes us slow down, or even stop and look longer. Other artworks make us feel like we are moving FAST!
How does looking at Celerity make you want to move?
Do you have the sensation that you are moving fast or slow while looking at it?
What makes you think that?

The artist, Ann Taylor, named this work Celerity. Celerity means swiftness.
Does that match up with how you feel when you look at the piece?

Imagine that you are going to jump into this image. Describe how you will be moving when you enter the image, from the foreground all the way to the background horizon.

 

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Ella Peacock "Pigeon Hollow #1"

Ella Peacock (1905-1999), Pigeon Hollow #1, no date, oil on canvas, 23 3/8 x 28 1/2 inches. Brigham Young University Museum of Art, 1987.

Ella Peacock had an eye for unconventional beauty. She was consciously aware of place in terms of color, light, and movement. Here Ella invites us to deliberately look and see what others may disregard.

What is the subject of this painting? What is the strongest visual element of this painting?
The subject of this painting is color. Color is the dominant feature of the overwhelmingly empty desert landscape.

How do you feel standing in the midst of this landscape?
The desolate nature of this scene, the soothing color palette, and the loose brushstrokes highlights the incredible vastness of this unclaimed, untamed, and wild desert!

The artist used paintbrushes of different sizes to create a variety of textures in this desert scene. Let’s look closer and find examples of brushstrokes in this painting.
Where do you see thick brushstrokes? What colors were painted with a thick paintbrush?
Where do you see thin brushstrokes? What colors were painted with a thin paintbrush?
Are there places where you don’t see brushstrokes at all? How do you think the artist painted these areas?

 

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Helen Gerardia, "Moonladder," c.1970, painting

Helen Gerardia (1903-1988), Moonladder, c.1970, acrylic on canvas, 30 x 36 3/8 inches. Brigham Young University Museum of Art, gift of Samuel Sumnar Goldberg, 1977.

While Abstract Expressionism sought to create non-representational art, the artist here has given titles to her works which imply time, movement, and astronomical objects. This piece is titled Moonladder.
Why do you think she gave this piece this title?
What do you see in this work?

 

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