Tides of the Past
Curated by Brittany Juravich
Water has always been a symbolic and literal source of energy and renewal for me.
Having grown up near Lake Ontario in New York, I have been aware of its vastness, mystery, and beauty throughout my life. Although it is in a constant state of motion, and change, it provides me with a sense of peace and grounds me no matter where I find myself. Each of the artworks on view here, selected from CPW’s Permanent Print Collection, elicited specific personal memories through the techniques and visual approaches the photographers used to explore water as an element in the landscape and as a visual metaphor for the world that we live in.
In Robin Dru Germany’s (Slaton, TX) Galveston: Pressed, from her series Surface Tension, she explores not only the quietness that can be found on the surface of the water but also the mystery of the unknown world that lies deep below what the natural eye can. Germany uses encaustic paint to create a rippled texture over the printed image creating an effect that mimics the surface texture of the water. The enigmatic nature of the photograph illustrates the tension between the underwater world and the world above.
For Jeffrey Milstein (Kingston, NY) the ocean serves as a source of discovery in his photograph Block Island Dune, Moonrise. This image was taken early in his career, one night while climbing up the sand dune at Block Island along the coast of Rhode Island. Milstein wanted to capture the beauty and essence of that moment with the moon rising over the horizon of the water and night sky. Though inspired by the specificity of the location, there is a universal sense of familiarity to it. The sand dunes frame our view of the ocean and glowing moon suggesting an entrance to another world that promises a new journey ahead.
Jeannette Rodríguez-Píneda (Queens, NY) incorporates water both literally and illustratively in How Lovely Wetness Makes My Flesh. A self-described “nomadic explorer”, Píneda harvests elements from the natural world and utilizes historic photographic processes to evoke a multi-sensory experience for her audience. Through discovery and the use of natural elements, Píneda has created a piece that is as mysterious and beautiful as the world it references.
Each artist featured here has been drawn to water as a creative element in their artistic process. Whether they use this element in their work to symbolize a sense of wonder, discovery, and experiences in their lives or are simply marveled by its nature they invite us as viewers of their work to consider our own experiences, memories, and relationships to this vital element of life.
-Brittany Juravich, Summer 2014
Arts Administration Intern