Southern Utah University presents contemporary imagery exhibition with David Emitt Adams

Profile photo of David Emitt Adams next to his work, "Pumpjack Signal Hill," date and location not specified | Photo courtesy of Southern Utah University, St. George News/Cedar City News

CEDAR CITY — Southern Utah University’s Department of Art & Design is proud to announce an exhibition of David Emitt Adams’ poignant and land-worn work on display through May 5 at the Southern Utah Museum of Art.

Rusty cans and industrial waste create a visual surface for this contemporary photographer. Adams will present at SUMA as an Art Insights speaker Thursday at 7:00 p.m. The museum is open Tuesday-Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. with extended hours on Thursday until 8 p.m. Admission for the museum and Art Insights is free and open to the public.

“Valero Asphalt Plant” by David Emitt Adams | Image courtesy of Southern Utah University, St. George News/Cedar City News

Adams’ art records the history of the land, economic development and the evolution of time directly onto weathered items, such as tin cans, 55-gallon drums and film canisters using an in-camera process called tintype.

“I collect discarded cans from the desert floor, some more than four decades old, which have earned a deep reddish-brown, rusty coloration. This rich patina is the evidence of light and time,” Adams said in an interview with Lenscratch: Fine Art Photography Daily. “I then create images on their surfaces that speak to human involvement with this landscape. The results are objects that have history as artifacts and hold images connected to their locations.”

Adams obtained his bachelor of fine arts from Bowling Green State University and a master of fine arts from Arizona State University. He is a recipient of the Clarence John Laughlin Award, the Puffin Foundation Grant and the Arizona Commission on the Arts Research and Development Grant. His nationally and internationally shown work can be found in the permanent collection of the Center for Creative Photography, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Museum of Photographic Arts San Diego, the George Eastman Museum and numerous private collections.

The exhibition at the Southern Utah Museum of Art will include pieces from a series titled “POWER.” Images in the pieces speak of the American oil industry and the social, political and environmental landscape.

“The creation of this series comes at a time when society’s rapid energy consumption has reached a critical mass and the foreseeable effects of our changing climate are prevalent,” Adams said. “The images reveal the industrial landscapes that have shaped our way of living.”

The museum invites the public to experience the historical landscape of America through the interplay of contemporary imagery and forgotten relics. For more information, visit

Event details

  • What: Contemporary Imagery with David Emitt Adams.
  • When: Art Insights Thursday, April 19, 2018, at 7 p.m. Exhibition runs until May 5, 2018.
  • Where: Southern Utah Museum of Art, 13 S. 300 West, Cedar City.
  • Details: Free and open to the public.

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