Cinderbox is a collaborative, site-specific art installation in the Central Utah Art Center’s
(CUAC) CCA cabin space. The CCA space is named for Carl Christian Anton Christensen,
an early Utah painter who lived in the cabin and created many of the most well-known
images of the Mormon migration to Utah. The CUAC CCA cabin opened its first exhibition
in May 2010.
Like much of Despain and Toscano’s other work, Cinderbox creates a vague narrative: a
catastrophic event, implied by billows of smoke, drives animals across the cabin walls, spilling
out into the CUAC courtyard. The animals depicted pay homage to CCA Christensen’s
Danish homeland and the previous uses of the cabin: European starlings, brown bears, and
farm rats (the cabin has also been used as a granary). Despain completes the interior with
her Victorian-inspired fantastical furnishings, completing the setting in which the action takes
The entire installation, like their previous collaboration, Into the White, explores the spectrum
of white with all images and sculptures created with various hues of the color. Artistic
elements inside the CCA cabin are all depicted in two dimensions, while the outside
elements burst into the third dimension, creating a sense of mass exodus from the art space.