Water has been a popular subject of art over the centuries, especially in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. With its fluid, evanescent and reflective qualities, it offers a challenge to artists to represent visually. It also offers a rich range of metaphorical meanings, encompassing ideas of ebb and flow, tides, nature’s awesome powers, fluidity, refraction, the oceans and sea life, rivers, springs, snow and ice, botanical research, national borders and so on. And water has played an important role in many art historical traditions from West and East, from ancient and modern Chinese art, to European traditions of sea painting, Renaissance fountain sculpture, Turner and the French Impressionists and modern installation art in which water itself may form a part of the work. As a resource rich in associations, it continues to inspire creativity. (Image: Jon Bird, Refraction, 2010)
The artists in this exhibition work in different media of painting, photography, drawing, installation art and film, and have all been inspired in different ways by the subject of water. While Mike Perry references the oceans obliquely in his absorbing photographic studies of the polluting plastic detritus washed up by the sea, Cassandra Constant uses recycled plastic to suggest the undulating forms of a tributary. Jon Bird explores the complex – and colourful – nature of reflective watery surfaces in his painted ‘Refraction’ series, while Patricia Wynn Davies uses photographic images to convey the strange reflective surfaces of modern swimming pools. Dilys Bidewell explores the figure in water in her evocative series of swimmers in both natural and man-made pools. Kate Bright evokes strangely decorative watery surfaces in her graphite and painted works of water and snow, and Liz Rideal takes us to the fountains of the Italian Tivoli Gardens in her compelling film Chorus.
This exhibition is curated by Gill Perry, professor of Art History at the Open University, and Nicki Clarke of the C2 Gallery, Stoke Hammond, in support of the The Open Arts Archive at the Open University (http://www.openartsarchive.org). This archive provides open access to a host of artistic and cultural events, lectures and artist interviews held in collaboration with over 17 museums and galleries across the UK.
The exhibition is being held at the C2 Gallery, Moat Farm House, Stoke Hammond, MK17 9DD (GoogleMap) from 21 June to 1 July 2012.
Opening times: Friday, Saturday and Sunday 10am – 5pm, or otherwise by appointment on 01525 270454 or firstname.lastname@example.org.