Images: Natascha Seideneck, Uncanny Territory, 2017; Cannupa Hanska Luger, We Have Agency VII, 2016; Anna McKee, WAIS Reliquary: 68,000 Years (detail), 2016, image by Joe Rudko.
Center for Visual Art to Serve as a Hub for an Artist-led Response to the Water Crisis
August 4 - October 21, 2017
DENVER, CO (July 6, 2017) – Metropolitan State University of Denver (MSU Denver) Center for Visual Art (CVA) announces an exhibition that examines the loaded issue of water and promotes stewardship, advocacy and activism through the work of contemporary artists, and in direct conversation with students, policy analysts and scientists. Organized by CVA and on view August 4 through October 21, 2017, Water Line: A Creative Exchange features 19 artists working in photography, mixed-media installation, video, ceramic and sculpture.
The exhibition will feature artists’ critical response to institutional and individual actions that contribute to the water crisis, as well as imaginative solutions, practical and not, for addressing the issue. The challenge presented to artists is to engage audiences in multi-channel dialogue about water, with the intent to make visitors think differently about solutions to this problem that affects everyone, and requires the efforts of all.
“Water is the center of concern and debate everywhere,” said Cecily Cullen, CVA Managing Director / Curator. “Through the lens of art, visitors will learn not only about the challenges we face, but what can be done both individually and collectively to manage and sustain our scarce water resources.”
The artists are responding to news and reports that not only global communities are facing, but also thinking about those closer to Colorado and surrounding areas. Shrinking glaciers in Rocky Mountain National Park that source the major rivers in Colorado affect us directly, while protestors battle with oil companies for the right to protect rivers in North Dakota, and students in Michigan and Oregon have been consuming contaminated water from drinking fountains at their schools. The crisis of access to clean, plentiful water has been waged worldwide for decades. It has become an immediate and localized crisis.
Each of the artists, collectives, musicians and content contributors has been selected for their individual voice and expression addressing water struggles in compelling, provocative and poetic measure. Each contributor examines our relationship with water and reflects upon society’s role in protecting the environmental legacy for future generations.
Anna McKee is a visual artist living and working in Seattle. Her art is an exploration of memories that accumulate in the physical world – specifically where human history intersects a longer time span. McKee’s work, WAIS Reliquary, is a sculptural representation of 68,000 years of climate records taken from the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. The 22-foot long x 14.5-inch deep x 9-foot high sculpture consists of silk, glass, glacier water and wood. The work also includes a multi-channel soundscape by sound artist Steve Peters made from the sounds of the glass ampules used in the visual work, referencing the crystalline qualities of ice and the vertical representation of geological time implied by the drilled ice core.
Aurora Robson is a multi-media artist known predominantly for her work intercepting the waste stream. Her focus is on intercepting the plastic waste stream with the goal of shifting paradigms in human behavior. She states that humans are a self-destructive species in comparison to the other living creatures with whom we share this planet. The careless handling of plastic is threatening not only our food chain but the delicate eco-system that supports all life on earth. For the sake of circumvention, inspiration, and potentially our own salvation, Aurora makes work for the public that is as monumental in scale and lovingly crafted as possible, in order to illustrate both the urgency and sublime potential of this global problem.
Cannupa Hanska Luger
Born in North Dakota on the Standing Rock Reservation, Cannupa Hanska Luger comes from Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara, Lakota, Austrian and Norwegian descent. Luger's unique, ceramiccentric, but ultimately multidisciplinary work tells provocative stories of complex indigenous identities coming up against 21st-century imperatives, mediation, and destructivity. Luger creates socially conscious work that hybridizes his identity as an American Indian in tandem with global issues. Using his art as a catalyst, he invites the public to challenge expectations and misinterpretations imposed upon Indigenous peoples by historical and contemporary colonial social structures.
The Infamous Flapjack Affair and National Park Experience
The Infamous Flapjack Affair is an indie folk band that journeyed along the Colorado River for three weeks learning about the people and places that depend on the river system. Band members wrote original music and, in collaboration with National Park Service, created a documentary film titled Confluence. A multimedia installation of film and music will be exhibited.
Montreal-based artist, Isabelle Hayeur is known for her photographs and her experimental videos. She has also realized several site-specific installations and public art commissions. Her work is situated within a critical approach to the environment, urban development and to social conditions. She is particularly interested in the feelings of alienation, uprooting and disenchantment. Hayeur’s photo and video series titled Desert Shores (Lost America) focuses on the transformation of a place and community of people with the flooding and later drying of the Salton Sea.
Matt Jenkins and Lynna Kaucheck (Food & Water Watch)
Matthew Jenkins is an assistant professor at MSU Denver with research interests in performance art, socially engaged art, internet art and land art/environmental art. He will contribute installation work addressing water in Flint, MI. For his work in Water Line, Jenkins collaborated with Lynna Kaucheck of Food & Water Watch to obtain Flint tap water from the home of water activist Melissa Mays.
Natascha Seideneck was born in Germany, grew up in England and now lives in Denver and has been an artist for more than 30 years. Seideneck has produced numerous site specific artworks often collaborating with artists, designers and architects. Seideneck is a visiting assistant professor at MSU Denver and a member of Tank Studios. Seideneck will contribute photographs, video and installation work reflecting on the impact of global warming on water stability. In her series, Uncanny Territory, we bear witness to the melting of otherworldly ice “planets.”
Nicholas Galanin and Merritt Johnson
Collaborating since 2014, Nicholas Galanin and Merritt Johnson combine the diverse and overlapping creative vocabulary of their individual practices to create an expanded and layered conversation. Their collaborative work brings together concept, material, technology, and culture to create multifaceted reflections of the world. Their work connects past, present and future, as an investment in vision - both in our ability to see and to be seen in relation to the land and to each other. Part of Winter Count Collective, Galanin and Johnson will also contribute work that they collaborated on together. Their short film and sculpture will address the Dakota Access Pipeline.
Tomiko Jones and Jonathan Marquis
Waterlines is made in response to the urgencies of water in the age of climate change. The photographs are from sites in California following the winter floods after years of drought, from the mountain snowmelt, to reservoir, to river, and to the sea, with the cyanotypes created on the transitional shore of the Pacific Coast. Waterlines is the first stage of a collaborative project with Tomiko Jones and Jonathan Marquis, beginning in June 2017.
Vibha Galhotra is a New Dehli-based conceptual artist whose large-scale sculptures address the shifting topography of the world under the impact of globalization and growth. She sees herself as being part of the restructuring of culture, society and geography – of New Delhi and the world. Responding to the rapid environmental changes and re-zoning of land, Galhotra embodies the dense urbanization and jungles of steel and concrete through intricately sewn metal ghungroo tapestries – fusing historical grandeur with shimmering veils of steel.
Winter Count Collective
Winter Count is a union of artists (Cannupa Hanska Luger, Merritt Johnson, Nicholas Galanin, Ginger Dunnill and Dylan McLaughlin) cultivating awareness, respect, honor and protection for land and water, for all the living things that have lived here, and for all the living things to come. The artists are from Brooklyn, NY, Santa Fe, NM and Sitka, AK. They will contribute video, film, photography and sculpture focused on the threat to water and land in Standing Rock, ND.
All CVA events are free and open to the public.
- Friday, August 4, 6-8
Opening reception during Art District on Santa Fe's First Friday and summer block party
- Thursday, September 14, 6pm
Artist talk with Anna McKee & Jim White, C.U. professor of geological sciences and environmental studies
- Wednesday, September 20, 6pm
Art, Democracy and Water, artist talk with Matt Jenkins and Lynna Kaucheck of Food & Water Watch
- Wednesday, October 4, 6pm
Uncanny Territory, artist talk with Natascha Seideneck
Exhibition Organization and Sponsorship
Water Line: A Creative Exchange is organized by Metropolitan State University of Denver Center for Visual Art. Collaborators include One World One Water Center for Urban Water Education and Stewardship, and Denver Botanic Gardens.
CVA Annual Sponsors are MSU Denver Student Affairs Board, Jan and Fred Mayer Fund, Marcia Gold Naiman Fund, Campbell Foundation Fund, Otten Johnson Robinson Neff Ragonetti PC and BBVA Compass Bank; and an Annual Partner is SpringHill Suites Downtown at MSU Denver.
The exhibition is curated by Cecily Cullen, Managing Director / Curator of CVA.
965 Gallery Concurrent Exhibition
As a complement to Water Line, the student organized 965 Gallery within CVA will show Propagate: A Backyard Revolution. The exhibition is a call to action to educate ourselves about healthful growing and eating, to stop eating food that is bad for us and our planet, and to be an example of a backyard revolutionist. Artists featured include Meredith Feniak, Eileen Roscina Richardson and Fil Merid.
Center for Visual Art is the off-campus contemporary art center for Metropolitan State University of Denver. CVA provides a year-round schedule of exhibitions that have both local significance and international reach, education programming open to the community, and immersive and entrepreneurial workforce development for students in creative fields. The center is free and open to all. For more information, visit msudenver.edu/cva.
Tuesday – Friday: 11am – 6pm
Saturday: 12pm – 5pm
Closed Sunday and Monday, and for installation between exhibitions
965 Santa Fe Drive, Denver, Colorado, 80204