Water…it’s ubiquitous, under-estimated and utterly indispensable. Friday, May 3 Legion Arts opens a major new exhibition titled Trouble the Water at CSPS Hall. On the fifth anniversary of the 2008 flood, the show features 16 contemporary artists from around the world exploring issues related to water: droughts and floods, climate events and climate change, as well as the economics, distribution, uses and scarcity of this incomparable commodity.
A First Friday opening reception is planned for Friday, May 3, from 5 to 7 pm. The event features snacks and a cash bar and is free and open to all.
Works range from a video of swimming polar bears to an installation of umbrellas made from the flags of Japanese fishing boats; from a collection of wall-mounted sculptures of Louisiana swamp houses to photographs mapping the proliferation of water stores in the drought-stricken American West. An installation by Minnesota artist Dustin Yager in the Commons Gallery employs pitchers lent by local residents in a Zen-like meditation.
In a first for Legion Arts, Trouble the Water, which includes a range of media, video and participatory works, will occupy all four galleries at CSPS Hall, 1103 Third St. SE, Cedar Rapids.
“Water is inextricably linked to every aspect of our past, present and future,” Legion Arts executive director F. John Herbert said. “It is a powerful and often destructive force that can wreak havoc through its scarcity and its abundance. Here in Iowa, we’ve seen the effects of both extremes, and on the fifth anniversary of the 2008 flood 16 artists examine the cascade of issues associated with water in all its forms and effects: from rising sea levels to the stuff we drink.”
Trouble the Water is curated by Diane Barber of Houston, Texas, who recently signed on as consultant and guest curator for Legion Arts’ visual arts program. Diane will be present at the May 3 reception, and will return to give a curator’s talk on Thursday, May 30.
CSPS is located at 1103 Third St. SE, Cedar Rapids. Legion Arts, an artist-run nonprofit, has programmed CSPS Hall with art, music, theater, dance and film since 1992. The organization purchased CSPS following the flood of 2008 and gathered over $8 million in funding to restore and expand the 120-year-old former Czech social hall. For more info call 319-364-1580 or visit www.legionarts.org
The artists and their works:
Carlos Montani (Argentina): A wall sculpture about water scarcity that includes vials of water from around the world.
Lori Nix (New York): Color photographs of intricate models depicting floods and drought
Dustin Yager (Minnesota): An installation that includes water pitchers loaned by local people
Erika Bllumenfeld (Qatar): A four-channel video highlighting the landscape of Antarctica
Nathalie Meibach (Massachusetts): A sculpture and wall installation representing scientific observations around weather patterns of a particularly devastating storm
Susannah Sayler and Edward Morris (New York): Photographs taken around the world documenting evidence of climate change (melting glaciers, rising sea levels, etc.) exhibited alongside a sculptural representation of an ark and a video of various individuals recounting the story of Noah’s Ark
Sant Khalsa (California): A collection of 60 black and white photos mapping the proliferation of water stores in and around the drought-stricken American West
Maarten Demmink (Netherlands): Small-scale paintings that look like aged photographs depicting catastrophic water events across the globe and across time (ancient to contemporary); a collection of small, wall-mounted sculptures reminiscent of Louisiana swamp houses
Mark Klett (Arizona) and Byron Wolfe (California): Collections of photographs documenting the shift in water patterns and water levels in portions of the U.S. (each location was initially photographed in the late 1800s and then Klett and Wolff re-photographed the locations in the 1970s and 1990s to make comparisons possible)
Janet Biggs (New York): A single-channel video that evokes the plight of polar bears and the danger that melting sea ice poses to their survival
Yuko Nakajima (Japan): An installation of umbrellas made from flags used on Japanese fishing boats
Helen Friel, Chris Turner and Jess Deacon (UK): A short, playful animated video showing the lifecycle of a single drop of water