JUROR | Jennifer Shaw
Life Of Water
Water makes up two thirds of the earth’s surface, and sixty percent of our bodies. It is a pleasure, a salve, a necessity, a means of livelihood, a precious resource, a threat. The photographs selected for this exhibition reflect broadly on our relationship to water, with perspectives ranging from the personal to the political.
Humans have always been drawn to water, and as such have utilized it as subject of art since prehistoric times. The 1398 photographs submitted for this show attest that water continues to provide inspiration. It was a pleasure to spend time with so many wonderful images, and a challenge to arrive at the final selection.
I approached the process with an open mind, allowing the varied interpretations of the theme guide the shape of the show. The seductive qualities of a great composition are in ample evidence, but it was the images imbued with deeper meaning that pulled me in and held my attention over repeated viewings.
The selected images range from documentary to conceptual, from sublime to surreal. Depictions of H2O in its various forms – liquid, solid, and gas – are included, along with views of water in urban spaces and the arid landscapes of lost lakes and disappearing rivers. From pools to ponds, images of people in water evoke a floating world that borders on the mystical. There are photographs that focus on marine life, and images that address pollution and erosion. Underwater photography is represented, along with some aerial views. There are notes of humor and wonder, moments of quiet reflection, and scenes of grandeur.
As a whole, they present a rich and layered look at how we live with water. Each of the featured artists present nuanced takes on an elemental subject. From big-picture ecological concerns to the zen-like beauty of raindrops on a windshield, they engage the subject in meaningful ways to create compelling, articulate, and thought-provoking images. In this era of global climate change, when some of us are faced with too much water and others with too little, these photographs communicate in ways that delight and disturb and remind us why we should care.
February 15, 2019