I make art with water. Specifically, I am deeply immersed in the watershed of the upper Mississippi River. Over a decade I have evolved a hands-on, get-in-the-water process that reveals and holds the devastating truth and intrinsic beauty of our relationship with our ecosystems. In this new series Under Water, I return to my love of photography to work in the bodies of water that have nurtured my artistic way.
My process is at the heart of my vision. My immersion in the water is essential to and guides my artistic gestures and marks. I have walked the rivers for years creating photographs and learning where to paint and print in shoreline open-air studios. Now I arrive at these places with my canvas, photographs, camera, and an offering of water. Every visit brings forward new inks, tools, and ways to use my camera. I draw, print, and photograph with sediment from commodity farms, dead snake corpses, buckthorn berry paint (our resident poster child for invasive species), four seasons of time, and the flow of the water. I ache at times as a stand in the river making art and look around another brutalized landscape. I also know the real dangers lurking in the water are hidden. This practice of seeing and creating beauty in this way is transformative, freeing and an honor.
In Under Water I dive in where my exploration, research, artistic choices, and stewardship has led me over the years. I work in a culvert stream choked with runoff commodity farm sediment and toxic chemicals, a spot where a haz-mat suit is still required to work in the Mississippi River in downtown Minneapolis, and the place of first creation for the Dakota people, Bdote, at the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers.