'Elevated' artist showcased at Union Station

'Elevated' artist showcased at Union Station

Story by Becky Wright , Standard-Examiner staff - Jun 1 2011 - 3:42am
A new exhibit of David Meikle's work, including “Little Mountain Autumn,” opens June 3 at Gallery at the Station in Ogden.
David Meikle
David Meikle’s artwork is featured on the “Life Elevated” billboards that can be seen throughout Utah.
David Meikle’s artwork is featured on the “Life Elevated” billboards that can be seen throughout Utah.

Gallery at the Station, Union Station, Ogden

2501 Wall Ave.
Union Station
Ogden, Utah

This may be the first time David Meikle has shown his paintings in an Ogden gallery, but they might look familiar anyway.

The Salt Lake City artist's images of the Utah landscape were featured on a series of the state's "Life Elevated" billboards.

An exhibit of Meikle's stylized landscape paintings opens with a reception from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. next Friday in Ogden's Gallery at the Station. The show -- which also features ceramics by Suzanne Storer of Ogden -- continues through June 28.

"His style and technique are superb," said Lorna Kennedy, a board member for Gallery at the Station.

Meikle's artwork on the "Life Elevated" billboards was inspired by 1930s-era Work Projects Administration posters for the national parks.

"I liked that style, and thought it would be interesting to do some Utah images," said Meikle, noting that his works were updated and done digitally.

He printed some of his Utah images on cards and posters, which sold in stores during the 2002 Olympics.

"The Office of Tourism saw my posters, liked the style and came to me," with a proposal to do the billboards, Meikle said.

Rising star

Meikle's distinct style carries through to his oil paintings of the Western landscape, which are also drawing attention.

"I think a lot of it comes from my training as a graphic designer," he said. "The way the shapes are done on the painting, and the design of the picture, is very important to me."

His paintings were part of "Out West: The Great American Landscape," an exhibit that traveled to Washington, D.C., and China in 2007, and in "The Continuing Allure: Painters of Utah's Red Rock" at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts in 2010.

Works by Meikle were also included in "Painters of the Wasatch Mountains" (Gibbs Smith, 2005) and "Painters of Utah's Canyons and Deserts" (Gibbs Smith, 2009).

In the second book, authors Donna L. Poulton of the Utah Museum of Fine Arts and Vern G. Swanson of the Springville Museum of Art described him as a "rising star," "with clarity of vision and serenity uncommon to artists his age."

This year, Meikle was named by the Springville Museum of Art as one of Utah's 100 Most Honored Artists.

Consistently artistic

Meikle grew up with a pencil in his hand.

"I would ask my dad to draw something, and when he'd give it to me, I'd say, 'That's not right.' He'd say, 'Then do it yourself,' " Meikle remembered.

So he did. He wound up taking art classes in high school, and earning an art scholarship to the University of Utah.

"I never really left the campus," Meikle said, explaining that he works as a graphic designer for the university's marketing and communications department. 'I actually got my master's in painting in 2006 -- I still kept my job, and they let me go to class."

He also tried his hand at teaching, with a Saturday art class for non-art majors at Weber State University.

"I really enjoyed the experience a lot, but I just got so busy with painting and working full-time during the week," he said.

Even though he's no longer teaching, he still scrambles to create enough paintings for art shows. He usually makes the time to paint at night.

"I have four kids, all under 8, so things can be kind of hectic. I usually paint after everybody goes to bed, when things get quiet," he said. "If I can get two to three hours in, I find eventually I can get quite a bit accomplished -- if I do that consistently."

Meikle is consistently inspired to paint.

"Growing up here, with the mountains, I think I'm just surrounded by such beauty," he said. "You look out, and can always find something cool to paint."

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