Artist Profile: Logan
Leaving a Legacy
Christopher Gauthier's Art and Advocacy
Chris Gauthier's photography has always had a message. For years, it was the message of others, but at a certain point Gauthier had an epiphany and decided to devote the skills he had learned in the advertising industry to the things he wanted to say. It was after a move to Utah, where Gauthier took a teaching position at Utah State University and he experienced his first winter in a smog-laden valley that he found his subject. Ever since, Gauthier has been creating bodies of work in collaboration with wife Jacqueline that examine health and the environment, advocating for issues both local and global. The Gauthier's Facing Autism series, inspired by experiences with their own children, garnered Chris a Visual Art Fellowship from Utah Arts & Museums this year, and the couple is currently engaged in a project to examine the health consequences of building a residential neighborhood next to a medical wast incinerator in North Salt Lake's Foxboro neighborhood.
When the French painter Paul Cézanne headed back to the south of France, he was retreating from an art world that greeted his paintings with indifference, but he was also returning to his ancestral home, full of a bright, penetrating light so different from the moisture-laden haze of Paris. Vincent van Gogh, and for a brief period, Paul Gauguin soon followed Cézanne's move, resulting in the crisp, penetrating light of Provence making it's way into their paintings and impacting the development of Modernism in Europe. Is it any wonder, then, that the American Southwest, with its equally dry penetrating light, became a destination for America’s modernists? That intense light, in a multitude of variations and mood, is a clear and unifying thread in the exquisite exhibition Simpler, Brighter, Stronger: Early Modernism and Southwestern American Art currently on view at Brigham Young University’s Museum of Art (MOA).
Exhibition Review: Provo
Illuminating the Southwest
Simpler, Brighter, Stronger at BYU's Museum of Art
Paul Anderson, Curator of Southwest American Art at MOA, drew equally from two collections to realize his vision: the museums’ own collection and the Diane and Sam Stewart Art Collection. The result is a multi-hued jewel of an exhibition with alluring subject matter and regional significance. Diane Stewart discussed Anderson’s accomplishments during the exhibition’s opening and the significant role Modernist artists hold in her art collection. She was clearly delighted to note how well Anderson had worked with both collections to provide a seamless narrative, both informing and inspiring the viewer.
Event Review: Salt Lake City
7 Steps Forward, 7 Steps Back
Kim Martinez at Finch Lane Gallery
Once upon a time the border between Mexico and the United States was about land and sovereignty. It wasn’t too difficult to cross that line. But then it got complicated. Especially since 9/11, the border isn’t just about land, but about trade, undocumented immigrants, terrorism, guns, drugs, and military surveillance. In 2003, as artist Kim Martinez read news accounts of increased militarization at the border while more and more migrants were dying in the desert, she began to consider exploring these issues through art.
Fast forward 10 years and Martinez is now showing a body of work that resulted from her curiosity and concern about border issues; a body of work that includes both paintings and video animation installed at Finch Lane Gallery through November 15.
Martinez will quickly tell you that this exhibit is not about immigration rights. Rather, it is about the journey from Mexico to the United States. It is about the enforcers on both sides of the border; the coyotes, often affiliated with drug cartels, who smuggle humans and other commodities across; the killing of Mexicans by Mexicans with the help of American guns; the death of the old culture of easy, neighborly visits across that line. It is about risk and death. Martinez leaves it to the viewer to think about public policy and how each of us is complicit in its results.
One might think from this quick listing of some of the complex issues that the exhibit could be grizzly, violent, and painful to watch. On the contrary, Martinez has used symbolism and elements of magical realism that engage the viewer intellectually to figure out what it all means.
The exhibit includes 15 monochromatic paintings (acrylic on paper) matted in white and framed similarly in black frames. In the midst of the black and white paintings, which cover three walls of the gallery, is a two-sided video screen suspended from the ceiling. It soon becomes clear to the viewer that the video is an animation of the still images in the paintings. The fourth gallery wall holds five brightly colored acrylic paintings on linen – some of the symbols and characters of the video series against a hypnotic pattern of colors spiraling or vanishing to a point.