Art Show Reviews

Specific Abject, group show at the Rio Salt Lake City  Reviewed by  on 

“…Finally, one of the most striking works in the exhibit—also in the form of an imposing structure made of repeating objects—is Kimball’s “Five Thousand Souls.” The piece is made of 5,000 pairs of clean white sneakers, stacked in high rows that reach the eye level of an adult. The text alongside the piece explains that in the last few years, vendors on European streets have begun selling scores of used shoes. When the origins of the shoes were traced, authorities discovered that scavengers have been finding shoes and other possessions washed up on the shores of the Mediterranean, where an estimated 5,000 refugees have drowned since the beginning of the refugee crisis.”

Abraham Kimball
Five Thousand Souls
Shoes 2017

“The repetition of the identical white sneakers creates an emotional and physically weighty object. Like the thousands of shoes from the Majdanek concentration camp on display at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, when the number of faceless casualties is represented by something we relate to—pieces of clothing that we wear on a daily basis—that statistic is harder to push aside and creates an emotional impact. The shoes in the piece are unworn and anonymous. In the past several years, thousands of casualties leave no record of where they came from, who their family members were, or who they were as individuals. The unused shoes also remind us of the human potential so often extinguished by violent conflicts.”


SANPETE PRINTMAKERS 2016, group show at Spring City Art Gallery

c20b5c3f-f5ba-4b06-b92a-3bc77efd8dc7  Review by Shawn Rossiter – 

Abe Kimball, the man responsible for bringing all these artists together, announces some of his influences in the title of his hand-colored lithograph “Ovis Aries, after Zurburan and Van Gogh.” He borrows a sacrificial lamb from the Spanish artist and a starry sky from the Dutch, but there’s also something about the vertical format and the tablecloth that calls to mind a more local artist: Ron Richmond. This association is abetted in no small part by the inclusion of three of Richmond’s prints, hung next to Kimball’s work. Two are versions of Richmond’s recurring “Robe” motif—a pile of folded cloth hanging off a table—executed through different techniques, the hand-tinted drypoint coming much closer than the woodblock to mimicking the ethereal light of the artist’s paintings. It doesn’t take much to see Kimball’s lamb in the place of the robe. All artists borrow, and every artist is in conversation with others, and it may be no less interesting if that happens with someone down the street rather than across the world; and when our fetish for “originality” persuades us to dismiss artists working in a similar vein, we deprive ourselves the pleasure of enjoying the nuanced differences and similarities that arise in these conversations.

Kimball also shares with Larsen and Anderson a penchant for play between visuals and titles. “Relics of A’Tilla and His Hun” is a rural Utah riff on Grant Wood’s “American Gothic” (with Kimball opting to age the female character sufficiently so there’s no doubt she’s the farmer’s wife and not daughter).  Lest we miss the joke, a tiller has been superimposed on the image and left uncolored so it pops out of the piece. This is a technique Kimball uses in other works, whether it be in a classical still life, to call attention to the “Empty Bread Basket” of the work’s title and purposefully break the illusion of realism, or to make iconic the farmer and hound in “ Guck and Equerry.”

Kimball also celebrates the equine in his “Kanthanka,” where Siddhartha’s favorite horse is represented by four variously colored lithographs of a horse’s skull against a Pop-inspired background.


THE COST OF ANYTHING 2015, group show at Alice Gallery (SLC)

cost of anything_e card  Review by Geoff Wichert –

The Cost of Anything may not include the landscapes and religious conventions seen in other local art shows, but it has more to say about that agrarian, hard-working, eternity-inflected people than the shows that do.

In Abraham Kimball, assemblage—to use the proper term for art crafted from found materials that retain their original identity as part of their meaning—can be seen to have transcended its ”classical” form, if that term can be stretched to accommodate these rude, expressive visual parables. In the lithograph “Phyrrho,” he paints images of the sort of found objects he otherwise presents in “Memento Mori” and “The First and Most Basic Instrument.” In fact, the card attached to the print specifies that these objects were discarded after serving as models, their costs left un-enumerated. Appropriately, the ”bill” for the assemblage details almost 200 hours of ”thought time,“ ”Construction/Deconstruction,” ”fiddling,” and ”Communication,“ among other unsung, yet mundane parts of the art-making process, yet fixes a value on few of the numerous objects included.

One of the show’s strengths lies in its reference to the impact on artists’ families: ”Sleep deprivation, loss of blood, blisters, loss of sodium (sweat), tears, a huge fight with my wife leading to much swearing and talk of divorce . . .“ reads one of Adam Larsen’s tags, to which might have been added a tag written by Amy, his most-patient of wives, and perhaps more by other family members.