Artists Turn Water Into Masterpieces

Jennifer Hattam
Living / Culture
June 26, 2009

'Watering,' David Carlson, et al.

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David Carlson Watering Approach image
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© David Carlson, Betsy Stewart, and Ashraf Fouad, video still from "Watering" (2008).

The myriad and sometimes contradictory qualities of water -- both life-giving and destructive, powerful and serene, a barrier and a bond between people -- make it a fertile subject for fine art, as you'll see in the work of these painters, sculptors, photographers, and other artists, many part of the "Take Me To The River" project, an international artists' collective that uses water as its unifying theme.

In the image seen above, toes tentatively dip into the ocean in "Watering," a collaborative meditation on peoples' alienation from, and reconnection with, the universal source of life. David Carlson, one of the three artists behind the video piece, also worked with watery imagery in his "Perception of Waves," an impressionistic take on what the Nile River "has witnessed over time" -- the children who have played in it, the fish that have swum in it, the lives that have changed -- and been changed by -- the course of its flow.