Victoria Panella Bourns Director News Release July 6, 2017 Josh Loftin Communications Director Utah Dept. of Heritage & Arts 801.245.7205

Animation Inspires Local Artists in New Rio Gallery Exhibit


SALT LAKE CITY — A new exhibit at the Rio Gallery will highlight works using cartoons and animated films as cultural touchstones. The Utah Division of Arts & Museums will host Under the Influence: Eight Local Artists Influenced by Animation from July 14th through September 1st at the Rio Gallery. An artist reception will be held on July 21st from 6-9 p.m. for Gallery Stroll. The Rio Gallery is located at 300 S Rio Grande St. in Salt Lake City and is free and open to the public Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. From Saturday morning cartoons to sophisticated feature films, the art of animation plays an important role in contemporary popular culture. Profoundly influenced by animation and its captivating moving figures, a group a local artists seek to explore and borrow from the genre’s distinctive elements through paintings, drawings, and prints. Under the Influence includes works by Robin Banks, Trent Call, Jason N. Jones, Evan Jed Memmott, Mike Murdock, Athena Splett, Heather Mahler, and Sri Whipple. The artists employ exaggeration, tension, and elasticity of form to convey a heightened emotion or action in each work. Their use of frozen circumstance, like a celluloid from an animated short, eternally expresses a particular feeling or action such as elation, humor, terror, or environmental upheaval. Classic animated films, like Fantasia and Little Nemo, inspired the artists to incorporate techniques such as anthropomorphism — the attribution of human characteristics or behavior on an animal or object — and surrealism into their work. Their unique style seeks to magnify and highlight certain characteristics — such as a “wacky” tree or “gloomy” cat — and departs from art that depicts more traditionally rendered figures which is an important tenant of animation. The bright and unconventional color palettes further convey the intent and mood of their subject matter. In addition to this body of work, curator Jason N. Jones interviewed each artist about animation and its influence on their creative efforts. They compiled these interviews in a bound book in storyboard format in which the interviewer and interviewee collaborated on the illustrations. The drawings from the book are on display in the exhibition. Accessible to youth and adult audiences, Under the Influence harnesses the joyful and whimsical stylistic elements unique to the animation genre. The profound impact of animation on these artists and contemporary culture merits recognition and celebration. The Rio & Alice Galleries were created as a service to Utah artists. They provide free venues for emerging and established artists to collaborate on exhibits and engage the community through art making and dialogue. For more information on exhibition and other program opportunities visit



Utah Arts & Museums is a division of the Utah Department of Heritage & Arts with a mission to connect people and communities through arts and museums. The division provides funding, education, and technical services to individuals and organizations statewide so all Utahns, regardless of race, gender, ethnicity or economic status, can access, understand, and receive the benefits of arts and culture. Additional information on the programs and services can be found at or by calling 801.236.7555.

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