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Emergence Exhibition at Peoria Riverfront Museum

I am honored to have participated in the Emergence: The National Arts of Central Illinois exhibition at the Peoria Riverfront Museum.  As described by the museum’s website– the exhibition “is a platform for an ever-evolving tradition of premier contemporary art exhibitions that recognize the contributions made by our nationally known artists to the cultural landscape of Central Illinois. Traditions communicate values, stories and accomplishments while encouraging groups of people to create and share a collective identity, which in turn serves to shape individual identities. They remind us that we are part of a history that defines our past, shapes who we are today and who we are likely to become.” 

As the show closed, I had an opportunity to give a presentation about the evolution of “Charred”, now titled,”Crucible”. You can watch my artist talk below.

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Christmas Adventure, 2017

2017 is over and what a year it was!   It was the best of times and the worst of times all swirled up in a fast moving, and unpredictable reveal sequence — except at the very end, on the 2nd day of an 8 day trip to St. George, Utah to see Grandparents over the Christmas holiday when FLU-LIKE SYMPTOMS hit.  Then, suddenly time seemed to stand still. It was awful – coughing, sneezing, fever, headaches, body aches and shakes.  The four of us must have gone through a case of Kleenex boxes all by ourselves.  Of course, even while sick as dogs, we tried our best to visit cheerfully with Grandparents, eat good food and take small forays into the red rocks for blitz style photo ops. All along the way, we collected rocks, cacti skeletons, and other detritus of interest for additions to the Crucible series.  We missed out on some of the bigger adventures available in that region but heck, we were together and that’s what matters.  Oh, and I nearly forgot to mention one important detail — it was the kid’s first flight experience!  They loved take off, looking out the window and landing too!

We survived a topsy-turvy 2017 and are hopeful for good things to come in the new year.   To 2018, we say,”Bring it on!” Cheers!

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The Cobbler’s Wife

 

I have often thought of my self as a cobbler’s wife, you know, as in, “the cobbler whose children have no shoes.”  But seriously, for a woman who never even got a printed album of wedding pictures, here is an example of how blessed I am, photographically speaking.  Good grief.  He spends a few minutes diving into the multiple drives full of our digital life and 3 hours of photoshopping later, voila!  A gem.  Thank you love.  Thank you for preserving methodically and obsessively every living last capture you ever made.  

Jacqui

 

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#NoBanNoWall

#NoBanNoWall

#NoBanNoWall

It’s Sunday, January 29th, 2017. Yesterday, Donald J. Trump signed executive orders banning immigration from seven predominantly muslim countries in the name of national security. Last night hundreds of travelers were caught in the midst of a nonsensical, poorly executed, and poorly communicated policy shift. Many of these weary international travelers were detained, treated like criminals, and separated from loved ones. The fear must have been visceral for those families. Thankfully, the America that we recognize rose up. Lawyers brought legal action and the people filled the airports and the streets of our cities in immediate and passionate dissent. They still haven’t gone home.

This afternoon, our family participated in a protest near the Federal Building in Peoria, IL. It was cold outside, but it is not really a time to be concerned about being comfortable. The world seems to be turned upside down and all that we value as Americans is at risk. We must make a stand. Together we rise as a nation.  We resist through protesting in the streets, a public witness of our commitment to the principles of  a welcoming and free America. We hope our actions give our politicians the courage they need to act on their own consciences. State and federal legislators, if you stand up — we will stand behind you and beside you. We, in Peoria, are not urban by most standards. We are not on the East or West Coast — we are teachers, farmers, machinists, office workers, librarians, restaurant owners, etc. We are everyday Americans in the so-called “flyover states” saying, “No ban, no wall — it is love that conquers all.”

We are all the children of immigrants.

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”

– Emma Lazarus

Jacqueline F. Gauthiér
Photography by Christopher, Jacqueline and Caleb Gauthiér

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Ignite Peoria

We attended Ignite Peoria — what a great event!  We participated in pour art, printmaking and soft sculpting and we met many creative tech/art/maker people.  The entire family took a turn making photos of the event. Madeline and Caleb really enjoyed walking around experiencing the scene through the lens of a camera.  Not surprisingly, they are both developing an eye for composition and design.   Ironically, and a bit sad to note, we met an R-2 D-2 model on the very day Kenny Baker, the actor who played R-2 D-2 in Star Wars passed away.

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Great News!

 

I am excited to finally be able to let the cat out of the bag!  As of August 1st, I am officially joining the art and communications faculty at Illinois Central College! We closed on a home in Germantown Hills, IL  on Friday and will be moving on Monday!  We are packing up the truck and getting ready to roll!

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Wisconsin, A Year in Pictures

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1,381 Miles

We’ve traveled 1, 381 miles to get here.  1,381 miles.  The journey was punctuated with sight seeing stops, bridge closures, bathroom breaks and an occasional opportunity to climb rocks.  Separated from the ABF truck with all of our worldly possessions, we chose to drive at a leisurely pace, a long deserved vacation of sorts.  Road trips are an essential family event. Forever memories are made in those sometimes tedious hours in a car.   “Are we there yet?” is not a punch line — the phrase should come with a PTSD trigger warning.  But all joking aside, we arrived in one piece, and were warmly greeted by  grandparents eager to get some time in with Madeline and Caleb.  Wisconsin.  It’s seriously green here.

“When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.”

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A Storm in the Desert

On our farewell Spiral Jetty excursion, Mother Nature pulled out all the stops.  Toward the end of our visit (and after making a few really nice photographs), a rare storm blew in off the Great Salt Lake.  The clouds, sand, salt, rain, lightening and hail punctuated the raw ambivalence of the moment… Best. Jetty. Experience. Yet.

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For the Love of Art: An Open Letter to My Aspie Children

USAAA_Chris_10minThis week I’m at the 2014 US Autism and Asperger Association World Conference in Kansas City, MO. In preparation for this event,  I was asked to organize 10 minute inspirational keynote talks to set the tone for the conference.  Today it was an honor to share the stage with four incredible people; Raun Kauffman, Dr. Stephen Shore, Jennifer O’Toole and Benjamin Tarasewicz.  

This is the transcript from my 10 minute talk.

I’ve been writing this letter in my head for quite some time now.  It started out as a series of important things I’ve wanted to say to my Marauding Space Monkeys (my children, Madeline and Caleb) but in the process of preparing these thoughts for this talk I realized that it’s also a list of things I wish I would have heard as a child as I navigated a world that didn’t quite get me. 

“Dear Madeline and Caleb (My Marauding Space Monkeys),

One day, in my second grade art class we were given cardboard pieces, glue and aluminum foil. The teacher asked us to create a low relief abstract design.  I recall my classmates cutting out a variety of geometric forms and assembling them with some, but little variation from the sample.  I wanted to do something different.  So I thought back to the conceptual works of art that I had been exposed to, some of them exhibited in Kansas City at the Nelson Atkins Museum. I designed a simple form, with the raised text, “it is.” When I handed it in, the teacher scolded me for “not following the directions.” Failure.  Now I look back, from my perspective as a university art professor and I recognize the teacher’s intolerance of difference blinded her to seeing the potential in me.

This will be hard to hold on to, but it’s truth.  You define you.  Only you can define who you are, and what you will become.  Others you trust are only advisors, and the rest, don’t give them any more energy than necessary.  You deserve to take up space in this universe and the universe is improved when you contribute the results of your existence within it. You are Star Stuff incarnate. Don’t allow someone to disrespect or shame you because of your desire to focus on the things that matter to you, or pathologize your special interests as perseverance behavior that needs to be extinguished. Use your fascinations as internal motivation to build skills and expertise necessary to lead a fulfilling and productive life, however that is defined in your mind.

Sometimes it will seem the odds are stacked against you. But having challenges can give you a sense of humility, an awareness of needed personal growth and your response to these challenges might provide important clues to understanding how others may be feeling in similar situations.  But don’t mistake humility for humiliation, the internal or external voices that berate, or bully you to feel small and worthless. Some of us are riddled with fear, anxiety and adrenal stress, I know I am, but don’t let the fear stop you from living your life to the fullest. Courage is not the absence of fear, but the willingness to act in spite of it. Continuing to pursue your goals, being tenacious in your efforts will lead you to surpass everyone’s expectations, sometimes even your own. Remember, half of success is just showing up.

Adolescence was rough. Pressure to conform was excruciating, but during that time life-changing things happened to me.   I met my best friend and chosen brother Joe, and I found my passion for photography.  Joe and I bonded through our shared interest in photography and together we persisted through a turbulent youth, emerging with a skill base that shaped our futures. Later in High School, I met your Mother — a force of nature herself, and the person who has helped me become who I am today. Please understand that you don’t need a whole pile of fair weather friends, sometimes you just need one or two, the kind you trust with your life. Random acts of kindness to strangers are laudable, but forgiveness of a grievous error in friendship is so precious that its value cannot be determined.

Find love, true love.  But don’t be fooled into thinking there is only one person in this world who is your soul mate, that can make you feel desperate when there is really no need. Be wary of people who want you to change the way you look, or to be more like them. There are many such people out there and you really need to let Mom help you figure out who is who — she is brilliant at this sort of thing.

Life can throw some real hard balls. When you experience cosmic disappointment or devastating grief, don’t give into bitterness and rage. Indulging rage, even for a second, damages relationships and darkens the vulnerable tenderness within you.  Rage is a tough genie to put back into the bottle.

Question everything but pick your battles carefully. Not every battle needs to be fought, and not every battle fought needs to be won. Sometimes, losing the battle to win the war, fighting a hopeless battle in support of the underdog, or choosing peace over victory is the right strategy.

So you understand, I started the Facing Autism project because I wanted to use my talents to advocate for others.  I wanted to ignite the power of imagery to humanize the autism prevalence statistics and to convey my deep concern about the impact of environmental toxicity on human health and development.  I feel like I have contributed to the larger conversation about autism in the US and in the process, I have found a diverse group of amazing people with whom I belong. Not a small thing for a person like me.  But my choices have come at a cost as they often do when following a passion that not everyone values. I regret nothing.

Your future uncertainties must be met head on with innovation, a willingness to adapt, and fierce determination. Even in adversity, work hard to see possibility in others.  Black and white thinking misses so many opportunities for collaboration. BREATHE. Be present in the moment. Quieting your mind and soul will make space for intentional decision making, critical thinking and abundant creativity.

Create. FOR THE LOVE OF ART, do whatever it is that makes you, YOU. Do it, and don’t let anyone stop you.”

Love you better than broccoli, and to Planet X and back!

  Dad (and Mom)

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