Canyon Light

Southern Utah University Business Building | Cedar City, Utah | Acrylic with Dichroic Film | 24 suspended panels (12 pair), spanning over 19' L X 38"W X 6' 6"H | 2018


In October 2017, Utah Division of Arts & Museums’ Public Art Program commissioned Gordon for a significant interior art installation for the new Southern Utah University (SUU) Business Building, which opened in August 2018. The artwork, entitled Canyon Light, was installed in connection with the final construction touches to the building. The suspended work inserts a luminous, colorful component into the refined and creative architectural interior spaces of the new SUU Business Building. The new building provides needed space for students, professors, and professionals to collaborate and experiment with business ideas, assignments, and projects.

The inspiration for Canyon Light comes from the unique geological formation of the Wall Street Slot Canyon in Bryce Canyon National Park, and its constructed counterpart, the towering buildings lining the narrow streets of lower Manhattan, NY. These soaring canyons, with the slimmest of openings allowing for passage, have the effect of throwing focus on the experience of the journey while wrapping the destination in mystery. Canyon Light evokes the experience of movement with its sequential series of dichroic panel pairs, each with a distinct “canyon slot” profile. Viewers will have an opportunity to journey through the artwork, with its variety of shapes and profiles providing an engaging and constantly transforming experience. Dichroic film applied to the acrylic panels mimics the effects of the filtered and diffuse light in the canyon. Radiating color, reflection and refracted light, each panel has a distinct and unique effect on the interior spaces of the SUU Business Building.

Canyon Light can be viewed and appreciated from a variety of perspectives throughout the building. At eye level, from the second floor balcony, the viewer’s perspective is perpendicular to the installation. As the viewer walks by, the gaps between the sets of suspended panels offer views across the open atrium space, through the pairs of dichroic panels and to the first floor below. From the first floor, looking up towards the suspended works, the varying profiles of the pairs of panels are clearly apparent. The time of day, ambient light and the perspective of the viewer are all factors that will transform the appearance of Canyon Light throughout the day and evening.

The 42,000-square-foot Southern Utah University Business Building encourages participatory and practical business education with flexible learning spaces for greater collaboration. The design purpose is to allow for efficient education for future business leaders, and to do so with a sound ethical base as well as with solid and dynamic knowledge and experience. Momentum for the new building started in 2015, when SUU received $7.5 million from the Dixie and Anne Leavitt Foundation, the largest single gift in the school’s history.