Barry and Julie Parsons needed to put a little spark back in their relationship -- not with each other, but with their art.
"I kind of got into a rut and was looking for something to spark me again," said Barry Parsons.
Julie Parsons, his wife, had also been feeling less than excited.
"I feel like I needed a creative outlet and have been trying to find that inspiration again," she said. "You get busy with kids, and it's easy to lose it."
An exhibit of new works, the result of the Wellsville couple's search for artistic electricity, opens with a reception from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. next Friday at the Brigham City Museum-Gallery. The show continues 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays, through Jan. 22.
Barry Parsons decided to look for his artistic fire by going back to when the relationship was new.
"When I started in photography, probably 20 to 25 year ago, some of my earliest stuff was abstract," he said. "Then I got into more documentary-type work, going to historical places and photographing what was there."
He's returned to creating abstract images, but realizes some people don't understand abstract art -- including his photography students at Utah State University's Brigham City extension.
"When you tell them to do something abstract, they look at you with that deer-in-the-headlights stare," he said.
So he explains it this way: "Just find something ordinary, and take a picture that makes it look un-ordinary."
Some of Parsons' photos were taken at Ogden's Union Station, but most of the ordinary objects he photographed were found in recycling yards and abandoned buildings.
"I tried to find the most brilliant colors I could -- color is almost as important as the structure of the image," he said. "And I think the shapes are really interesting."
Some of the objects will be easily identified.
"With others, you may not have a clue, and that's good," Parsons said. "I don't think you have to understand it. ... This is more about having a visual experience, and being able to appreciate an image for whatever you get out of it as a viewer."
Julie Parsons also has a degree in photography, but for this exhibit she's showing paintings.
"I've been painting since I was a little kid," she said. But she hasn't done or shown much of it in quite a while.
Her new paintings aren't really abstract, but, like her husband's works, may not be easily understood.
"Some of it has personal significance. A lot of people are probably not going to catch it, but it means something to me. I'm exploring internally, so what's coming out has personal symbolism," she said. "Whether anyone else will pick up on it, I don't know. It will be fun if they do, but hopefully they'll enjoy the face value, too."
Barry Parsons is looking forward to seeing their art on the gallery walls. He hopes others will be excited about it, too, and that it will spark some conversation.
"I think art should cause discussion, and whether it's good or bad doesn't matter as long as it causes people to respond to it, talk about it, and want to go see it again," he said.
- WHO: Barry and Julie Parsons
- WHAT: 'With a Paintbrush and a Camera' art exhibit
- WHEN: Opens with a reception 6-8 p.m. Dec. 17; continues 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, and 1-5 p.m. Saturdays, through Jan. 22
- WHERE: Brigham City Museum-Gallery, 24 N. 300 West
- ADMISSION: Free; 435-723-6769