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May 22
Jun 09

The Art of Spin

The Art of Spin

Presented by Salt Lake City Public Library at Salt Lake City Public Library Main Branch

A Collaboration with Amy Bennion Beecham, artist, and John Bennion, author • Exhibit runs from April 29 to June 9, 2023.

ARTIST STATEMENT: Spin—is a collaboration between Amy Bennion Beecham, artist, and John Bennion, author. The project bends and blends genres—fiction, essay, and art.

After a divorce in which her former husband manipulates the narrative and takes everything from her, Lily decides to kidnap her own child. She believes the justice system and all other human institutions have failed her. Giving up on rationality, she spins a wheel that she found in a thrift store. This randomizing device leads her straight to her baby, Anne. She spins again and again, staying off the grid and avoiding capture.

This fictional narrative is interrupted by non-fiction passages in which the author essays on probability theory, space-time, philosophy, literary criticism, the lore and science of love—also cockroaches, polar bears, gangs, homeless people, Mobius Bands, and fractals. In addition, the wheel functions on two levels: Lily uses it as a navigational tool and the author used it to make narrative decisions. Another bridge between reality and fiction: Lily is an artist and the drawings are from an exhibit of her art late in the book. These drawings are part of the narrative, not merely illustrations.

Not only the Spin project, but most of Beecham’s art is collaborative in the sense that it is made through conversation with her subjects. The resulting work could be labeled as “self-portraits” both because of the intense involvement her subjects have in their pieces, and because they exemplify the way in which artist and subject are mirror images. Her portraits are like fractals, micro branches echoing the larger branch of all human connections. After Beecham read Spin, she and Bennion, her father, had conversations about subject and treatment. Hopefully, the visual and linguistic images in the novel amplify the reader’s apprehension of the novel’s core image: time is a branched fractal rather than a line.

The Spin project explores cultural issues concerning feminism and gender, social justice, identity, agency, and potential. Like Lily, many people feel abandoned by the justice system and other social systems such as church, welfare, and family. Her situation serves as a metonym for many other ways US culture treats marginalized groups. The novel explores how a white, upper middle-class woman might survive if she were suddenly rendered homeless and without resources. The intent is to create dissonance in the minds of readers and viewers.


Artist bio
Amy Bennion Beecham is an Assistant Professor at the University of North Florida and has been teaching painting and drawing for the last 12 years—at the University of Utah, Utah Valley University, Westminster College in Salt Lake City, and the Early College Program of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Beecham has been a part of the Museum Education team of the Art Institute of Chicago and in the Education and Engagement Department at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts. She earned a BFA from Brigham Young University, a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and an MFA from the University of Utah. Beecham has shown in galleries across the US and has work in national and international journals.

Author bio
A native of the Utah desert, John Bennion has published a collection of short fiction, Breeding Leah and other Stories (Signature Books, 1991), and four novels—Falling Toward Heaven (Signature Books, 2000), An Unarmed Woman (Signature Books, 2019), Ezekiel’s Third Wife (Roundfire Books, 2019), and Spin (By Common Consent Press, 2022). Another novel, Ruth at the End of the Earth is forthcoming next year from BCC Press. He has published short stories and essays in Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment, Hotel Amerika, Southwest Review, Hobart, Palaver, AWP Chronicle, Utah Historical Quarterly, Journal of Mormon History, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Best of the West II, High Country News, and others. He has retired from teaching creative writing in the English Department at Brigham Young University.

Individual Dates & Times *

  • May 22, 2023 at 10:00 am (Mon)
  • May 23, 2023 at 10:00 am (Tue)
  • May 24, 2023 at 10:00 am (Wed)
  • May 25, 2023 at 10:00 am (Thu)
  • May 26, 2023 at 10:00 am (Fri)
  • May 27, 2023 at 10:00 am (Sat)
  • May 28, 2023 at 11:00 am (Sun)
  • May 29, 2023 at 10:00 am (Mon)
  • May 30, 2023 at 10:00 am (Tue)
  • May 31, 2023 at 10:00 am (Wed)
  • June 01, 2023 at 10:00 am (Thu)
  • June 02, 2023 at 10:00 am (Fri)
  • June 03, 2023 at 10:00 am (Sat)
  • June 04, 2023 at 11:00 am (Sun)
  • June 05, 2023 at 10:00 am (Mon)
  • June 06, 2023 at 10:00 am (Tue)
  • June 07, 2023 at 10:00 am (Wed)
  • June 08, 2023 at 10:00 am (Thu)
  • June 09, 2023 at 10:00 am (Fri)

Location Info

Salt Lake City Public Library Main Branch
210 East 400 South
Salt Lake City, UT 84111

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