September 25, 2017
Writer: Brett Crandall
A special art exhibit is now running until October 20 in the Jacob Spori Art Gallery at Brigham Young University-Idaho. The exhibit, titled "A Visual Journal," features the artwork of President Henry B. Eyring, First Counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Though widely known in his capacity as a Church leader, few know the extent of President Eyring's artistic abilities. Over the past 60 years, he has created hundreds of watercolor paintings, drawings, and wood carvings. This is the first time any of the pieces have been on public display.
The public is invited to view this rare display at the institution he oversaw as President from 1971-1977. The gallery actually sits at approximately the same location as his office did in the original Spori Building, at the time he was president of Ricks College. He also did some of his first watercolor work there.
The exhibit contains only a fraction of Eyring's work. The curator of the exhibit, Kyoung Dabell, says, "We had a very difficult time narrowing it down to the 195 that you will find in the exhibit."
"It wasn't easy," Dabell said. "I received 700 unframed, five-inch by seven-inch, watercolor paintings, collected in several large binders. I was overwhelmed, as you can imagine, by the sheer number of works."
Dabell says what is perhaps most impressive about the exhibit is the breadth of Eyring's artistic capabilities.
"He is an excellent draftsman," Dabell said. "His sketches are very skillful and just amazing. He also does landscapes, ships, skies, horses, people, villages, you name it."
In addition to the paintings, several wood carvings are on display, some of which have been mentioned in various talks Eyring has delivered at general conference.
One of the most unique aspects of the artwork is the size.
"Nearly all of his paintings are very small," Dabell said. "When I asked President Eyring if he paints large, he mentioned that he feels uncomfortable spending too much time painting, because of his call to serve. He keeps his paintings small so that they won't take up too much of his time."
Admission to the exhibit is free, but tickets are required. Tickets are available at the door or may be reserved at www.byui.edu/tickets or by calling 208-496-3170.