UTAH TECH UNIVERSITY'S STUDENT NEWS SOURCE | January 27, 2023

Newest Sears Art Gallery showing dedicated to family of artists

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The DSC Sears Art Gallery is holding an exhibit that makes it all relative, literally.

“It’s all Relative” is an exhibit showcasing sculptures, India inks, acrylic and pastel portraits created by mother Merle Olson, daughter Darlene Morgan and nephew Brian Challis.

The exhibit, which clearly states that all the art runs in the family, is what Morgan calls a dedication to Olson to “keep her artwork alive and to remind the community of a what a great artist stood among them.”

“You’re born with artistic abilities,” Morgan said. “It’s what you do with those abilities that really further your career.”

Olson, a self-taught artist, recreated her surroundings by painting many of the landscapes she witnessed while she travelled the U.S., and found a love for painting national parks.

“My mother was my mentor,” Morgan said. “While I was born with a love of art and creating things, she helped me realize the minor details like, say, where to place a rock. She was always honest and critical, which was helpful as I grew as an artist.”

Morgan’s specialty is creating portraits with India ink washes, which is a black pigment made mostly of carbon that is either rolled into sticks or used with a paintbrush.

“India ink is a tough medium,” Morgan said. “It takes a lot of time and a close eye. You can’t paint over India ink, any mistake is visible. The white on the paper is the paper. The rest is black ink.” 

Challis specializes in creating abstract art. He said he loved to sculpt anything, but put most of his energy into abstract sculpting.

“I can’t really tell you what some of my favorite sculptures are since they don’t exactly have limbs or things I can name,” Challis said. “But one of my favorites is six hands all intertwined.”

Challis said he’s had many mentors throughout his life but was mostly self-taught. He said he hopes people see his art as a personal and emotional expression that, when shared, makes the artist vulnerable. 

“It’s all Relative” will begin Friday alongside DOCUTAH’s “Ceramic Capture,” which will be set up in the lobby outside the Sears Art Gallery in the Eccles Fine Arts Center.

The artist reception will be held Friday from 7-9 p.m, and the exhibit will run until October 12.