Arts & Humanities

Christopher M. Gauthiér Displays the Inversion at USU's Museum

The Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art at Utah State University opened a new exhibit Aug. 31 featuring the photographs of USU professor Christopher M. Gauthiér. The photos are part of Gauthiér’s series Evidence and Artifacts: Particle Matter 2.5 which explores the air quality in Cache Valley. The exhibit runs through Jan. 11, 2011.
An opening reception is planned at the museum Sept. 7 from 5-7 p.m., and all are invited. Gauthiér will speak, providing an informal overview of his work, answer questions and discuss his inspirations.
Gauthiér’s photographs were made in the midst of ice, fog and inversion, a natural and manmade regional weather phenomenon in which beauty and toxicity combine.
“Development, manufacturing, transportation, pollution and agriculture all contribute to the growing problem of air quality,” Gauthiér said.
Through his photography, Gauthiér documents both the cause and effect of the growing air pollution problem in Cache Valley during the coldest days of the year, giving special attention to the issue of particulate matter.
The Environmental Protection Agency defines particulate matter, also known as particle pollution or PM, as a mixture of extremely small particles and liquid droplets. And, the EPA continues, the size of particles is directly linked to their potential for causing health problems. Exposure to such particles can affect both lungs and heart. Small particles less than 10 micrometers in diameter pose the greatest problems because they can get deep into lungs and some may even get into the bloodstream, according to the EPA website.
In Gauthiér’s ten, large-scale, color photographs, the metaphors of particles, bits and artifacts find their way into the images. Using a layering technique, the images are digitally manipulated with enlarged patterns to convey degrees of particulate matter; while in other parts of the image area, the resolution shifts with increasing detail, depicting environments of precise clarity.
“The rhythmic digital textures applied to these photographs are an expressive gesture — like many photographers who use grain, focus and depth of field,” Gauthiér said. “I want to allow the viewer the opportunity to visualize the particles that are being breathed within these mysterious, silent and enveloping fog fields … an aesthetic parallel to the terrible and beautiful duality of inversion.”
Educated at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale and Ohio University in Athens, Gauthiér has taught photography in the USU Department of Art since 2008. He has also taught at Jackson State University in Mississippi and has exhibited his work throughout the United States and the world, including San Francisco, New York, Korea, Germany and Russia.
For more information or to schedule a tour of the Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art, call (435) 797-0165. The Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art is on the USU campus at 650 N. 1100 East, Logan, Utah, 84322, (435) 797-0163; fax (435) 797-3423. Information is also available at the museum’s website.
The museum is open Tuesday-Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The museum is closed Sundays, Mondays and holidays. Admission is free. The museum is accessible to persons with disabilities.
Parking for the museum is available in the Orange Lot west of the museum. The parking fee in this area is $5. Museum visitors who RSVP will receive free parking, and parking is free after 5 p.m. and on weekends. Two dedicated stalls in the Orange Lot are available for museum members. Call Rachel for reservations, 435-797-1414. Parking is also available in the Big Blue Terrace, located near the Taggart Student Center, for $1.50/hour ($7.50/day maximum). Free parking after 5 p.m. is available at the Blue Lot, located at the corner of 700 N. and 1200 East (by Aggie Ice Cream).
Related links:
Writer: Casey T. Allen, NEH Museum, (435) 797-0166,
Contact: Deb Banerjee, NEH Museum, (435) 797-8207,
Photo, “Evidence and Artifacts: Particle Matter 2.5, Corrugated Pipe III”

"Evidence and Artifacts: Particle Matter 2.5, Corrugated Pipe III" by Christopher M. Gauthiér. An exhibit of Gauthier's photographs can be seen at Utah State University’s Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art through Jan. 11, 2011.


Exhibitions 49stories Photography 32stories Air Quality 30stories

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