The current exhibit at the Zimmerli Art Museum, Water, displays an interesting balance between literal and symbolic representations of water. The theme of water is interpreted through sculpture, painting, and mixed media. Whether it is a landscape of a river or a cube filled with distilled water droplets, the exhibition shows a wide variety of how water can be interpreted. A strong aspect of this exhibition is the amount of different artists used. From painters such as Milton Avery and Albert Bierstadt, to the photographs of Phyllis Galembo, water is interpreted in as many ways imaginable.
When you first walk down the stairs to the show, suspended from the ceiling is a large net filled with water bottles. This representation of water sets the tone for the exhibition you are about to enter. In the main viewing room, you see a strong pairing of many works of art. Diagonal from each other, are two sculptures both portraying strong characteristics of water. One, a plexiglass cube filled with distilled water droplets and the other, blown glass made to look like dewdrops on the floor. The two pieces nicely complement each other in the room, which is filled with other water related works. Walking through the other rooms I find that there are other works paired well together, such as a painting of the Hudson River and a sculpture of nails in the wall placed in the shape of the Hudson River. The two shapes of the vertical river compliment each other from across the room. In one of the rooms was a small cluster of about five paintings on the wall. This pairing of works did not work well together and was unflattering to the room entirely. The blue walls worked well with the overall theme of water also. I think that the show might have flowed better if all the frames on the works matched or if they didn’t have them at all. All the video art interpreted very literal meanings of water in general. The video taken from the back of a boat was very nauseating and I felt it did no justice to the show. While many works were as literal, if not more literal, I don’t think this piece belonged in the show.
On the whole, the exhibit demonstrated the theme of water very well. While it may not have been the artists’ intentions to be in an exhibit based around the theme of water, I feel the curator’s intentions worked well with the work shown.
My Water Exhibition
April Gornik, Charente
twenty-eight block color woodcut
middle of room
Atul Bhalla, Immersions
cubes with water and cast sand
far left of room
Maya Lin, Dew Point
top right corner of room
Hans Haacke, Condensation Cube
clear plexiglas and distilled water
bottom right corner of room
The reason I decided to curate these pieces for my version of the Water exhibition is because I feel these pieces would flow well together and give a good representation of what the show is about. The three sculptures would complement the woodcut and look aesthetically nice in a room together. I choose these three sculptures to surround the woodcut because they all literally contain water or look like they do (the dewdrops).