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Canyon Gallery celebrates the life, artwork of John Huerta Jr. with memorial exhibit

By The Monarch special To The Standard-Examiner - | Jul 8, 2021
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"The Mountain Awakens," by John Huerta Jr, depicts the light on Ben Lomond after a storm cleared, which the artist described as "unreal."

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John Huerta Jr., deeply missed by the community where he shared his artwork as a permanent resident at Canyon Gallery, paints during one of Kaysville's recent art strolls.

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"Solstice," by John Huerta Jr. Trees were the Ogden-based artist's favorite subject to paint, but it was the light and patterns of nature, more than the subject itself, that mattered most to him.

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Canyon Gallery in historic downtown Kaysville, a custom framing shop celebrating its 30th year that exhibits original fine art from local artists, is hosting its largest show July 12-31 to honor John Huerta Jr.

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Over 50 remaining pieces by Ogden artist John Huerta Jr. have been selected and framed in preparation for the Memorial Exhibit & Sale opening on Monday, July 12, 2021, from 4-9 p.m. at Canyon Gallery in Kaysville.

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John Huerta Jr., deeply missed by the community where he shared his artwork as a permanent resident at Canyon Gallery, paints during one of Kaysville's recent art strolls.

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Over 50 remaining pieces by Ogden artist John Huerta Jr. have been selected and framed in preparation for the Memorial Exhibit & Sale opening on Monday, July 12, 2021, from 4-9 p.m. at Canyon Gallery in Kaysville.

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Over 50 remaining pieces by Ogden artist John Huerta Jr. have been selected and framed in preparation for the Memorial Exhibit & Sale opening on Monday, July 12, 2021, from 4-9 p.m. at Canyon Gallery in Kaysville.

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Canyon Gallery in historic downtown Kaysville, a custom framing shop celebrating its 30th year that exhibits original fine art from local artists, is hosting its largest show July 12-31 to honor John Huerta Jr.

Canyon Gallery in Kaysville will honor Ogden resident, teacher and artist John Huerta Jr. with a memorial exhibit that opens Monday.

The John Huerta Jr. Fine Art Memorial Exhibit & Sale will be the largest show to date for the gallery, which was the only location where Huerta was a permanent contributing artist (although he was featured at many other galleries). The sale of his remaining work was placed in the care of Canyon Gallery, as directed by Huerta to his wife, Charlesa Byrd, prior to his passing in March. Over 50 of the 150-plus remaining pieces, of various sizes and subjects, have been selected and framed in preparation for the exhibit.

“John was a kind and humble man whom we all miss,” said Canyon Gallery owner/manager Katherine Dahlstet in a statement.

The Ogden-born Huerta loved to paint and draw wildlife since he was a small child and studied art in college and from area artists throughout his life, learning to work in pastel, oils and watercolor. A nationally recognized artist seen at many exhibits and shows, Huerta was featured in Western Art Collector magazine in July 2019 and Southwest Art magazine in August 2019. He received many awards and recognitions for his artistic talents, including his plein air work, which he loved. He was also a graphic designer and media design instructor at Ogden-Weber Technical College for 20 years.

“Very much a teacher at heart,” Dahlstet said, adding that Huerta ran art classes and seminars and “touched countless lives with his wit, gentle nature and artistic prowess.”

Huerta worked in illustration and graphic design for years before dedicating himself to working outdoors and participating in plein air events, including the Plein Air Competitions at Eccles Art Center. Working outdoors inspired his painting process, with pattern, light and color becoming “more important than subject matter,” he wrote on his website.

His first en plein air experience, as quoted in Southwest Art magazine, “reinvigorated” his love for the landscape. He said there was “such a joy to being out in the field and recording something spontaneously.” Talking about the way he’d watch Ben Lomond Mountain going to and from work every day, he said, “I’ll glance over to see what the mountain is doing that day. Sometimes it’s shrouded in clouds, and sometimes it has a beautiful orange color at sunset.”

On the day that inspired his painting “The Mountain Awakens,” for which he received the BoldBrush Award, “a winter storm had just broken and the light on the mountain was just unreal,” he said. “Always with my work, I’m interested in expressing the qualities of light.”

“Kind, humble, caring. A keen wit and with a heart full of light,” Dahlstet said. “That was John.”

Canyon Gallery originated as a custom framing shop, which is still their foundation, and evolved into an exhibit space of original fine art through the framing of works for local artists. The Gallery has featured original work by Sandra Rast, Michael Workman, Bonnie Frucci, Trenton Higley, Simon Winegar, Rebecca Hartvigsen, Peter Van Alstyne and more. Now in their 30th year, they are the only remaining retail art gallery in Davis County. After 26 years at the Rock Loft in Fruit Heights, they moved to the Historic Downtown section of Kaysville in 2017.

The opening event for the John Huerta Jr. Memorial Exhibit & Sale is from 4-9 p.m. Monday, and the exhibit will run during regular business hours through July 31 at Canyon Gallery, 75 N. Main St., Kaysville. For more information, call 801-544-4262.

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