Thinking about Water: Artists Reflect
An exhibit in celebration of the
United Nations World Water Day
MARCH 22, 2017 through JUNE 30, 2017
Exhibit Conceived and Developed by:
Barbara Elfman, Executive Director
Eric Peterson, Director of Operations
Lauren Kaufmann, Guest Curator
United Nations World Water Day: March 22
March 22 is World Water Day—dedicated to focusing worldwide attention on the importance of freshwater and the need for sustainable management of freshwater resources. The United Nations General Assembly designated the first World Water Day on March 22, 1993.
Every year, the day spotlights a specific aspect of freshwater. This year’s campaign, “Why Waste Water?” addresses the need to reduce and reuse wastewater.
Wastewater is water that has been negatively affected by human activity. This includes water that is left over from doing laundry, washing dishes, flushing toilets, and using cooking oil, pesticides, paint, and cleaning liquids. Wastewater may also contain industrial and toxic waste, agricultural drainage, and water used in hydraulic fracturing.
In most parts of the U.S., wastewater is safely taken away in sanitary sewers, and runoff from streets is carried in storm drains. Occasionally, a major rainstorm causes sewer overflow, bringing untreated sewage back into the environment and threatening public health.
When wastewater ends up at treatment facilities, impurities are removed, and the water is converted into a reusable product. Treated wastewater may be used as drinking water, crop fertilizer, and as a cooling agent for power-generation equipment. However, more than 80 percent of the world’s wastewater is not treated or reused, and in many places, it winds up in the drinking water supply. Contaminated water, improper sanitation, and poor hygiene together cause more than 800,000 deaths a year.
By 2030, the U.N. aims “to improve water quality by reducing pollution, eliminating dumping and minimizing release of hazardous chemicals and materials, halving the proportion of untreated wastewater and substantially increasing recycling and safe reuse globally.”
In recognition of World Water Day, the Metropolitan Waterworks Museum invites you to consider the importance of this essential natural resource as you view Thinking about Water: Artists Reflect.
From the Executive Director
Welcome to the Metropolitan Waterworks Museum and our new exhibit Thinking about Water: Artists Reflect.
This collection of works by noted local and regional artists is brought together in recognition of United Nations World Water Day on March 22.
In our Overlook Gallery, you will find artists who are thinking about the value of clean, safe drinking water. At the same time, many of these pieces also prompt us to consider the impact of global climate change on freshwater, the focus of the UN’s designated day.
As we work to build awareness for this precious resource, the Waterworks Museum tells the story of how clean, safe drinking water was first engineered for the residents of Boston and surrounding communities. The 19th century designers of our magnificent engines thought deeply about the need for a burgeoning city to have a safe and steady supply – to ensure public health, to protect from devastating fires, and to provide for the steady influx of immigrants seeking a new life.
With the topic of water once again in the public eye, we hope the works of these talented artists will inspire you to reflect, as well.
With warm wishes,
From the Guest Curator
The artists in Thinking about Water: Artists Reflect carry on a long tradition. From 12th century Chinese hand scrolls depicting tranquil fishing scenes to 19th century English seascapes and New England maritime paintings, water has held enduring appeal for hundreds of years.
While reviewing art for the exhibition, I was struck by the number of pieces that portray water’s calming effect and reflective beauty. I was thrilled to receive work that shows local success stories, such as the Boston Harbor cleanup. And, I was struck by pieces that focus on the environmental changes that are affecting water—drinking water and the oceans that are home to fish and other sea life. As it becomes increasingly clear that climate change impacts water, artists express our deepest concerns by showing the fallout—the melting glaciers, rising waters, and dry reservoirs. Their work mirrors our worries for the future.
It is my great pleasure to share work by some of Boston’s most talented artists. I hope you will find the pieces stirring, thought provoking, and inspirational.
Lauren Kaufmann works as an independent museum consultant and as an educator at The Dedham Historical Society & Museum. She has collaborated on several previous exhibitions and is thrilled to have had the chance to act as the midwife for Thinking about Water: Artists Reflect. She loves the process of joining art and text to weave together a story that emerges as a museum exhibition. Kaufmann is deeply grateful to the Metropolitan Waterworks Museum for giving her the chance to curate this show. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jeannie Simms (Aegean Sea, Turkey in the distance from the shores of Lesbos)
Sarah Slavick (Drift) teaches at Lesley University’s College of Art and Design. Her work has been exhibited at the Massachusetts Convention Center, the DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park, at Miller Block Gallery in Boston and Giola Gallery in Chicago. Flesh and Blood, an exhibition of her and her three sisters’ work explored notions of family genealogy and the body and premiered at Carnegie Mellon University.
Elaine Spatz-Rabinowitz (Icy Waters) is Professor of Art Emerita at Wellesley College. Her signature works of oil paintings on cast, pigmented Hydrocal plaster are held in numerous public and private collections, including the Addison Gallery of American Art and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. A past Guggenheim Fellow in painting, she has also worked as a set designer with Peter Sellars on some of his most notable productions.
Sherley Soraya Wijaya (Reflection), from Jakarta, Indonesia, is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Graphic Design at Suffolk University. Her passion lies in capturing artistic events that seem abstract, but are shaped by her personal perceptions.
Mags Harries (Rising Water Aqua Alta) is well known for her public art installations, both nationally and internationally. She has recently turned her focus to investigating personal objects of futility in the face of rising waters. Through simple placement, materials, and scale, Harries creates a darker side to these objects that reflects the new reality of global warming. Photo credit: Kathy Chapman.
Trintje Jansen (The Six of Us) was an Associate Professor of Art Education at Massachusetts College of Art and Design for twenty-six years. She is currently an adjunct professor at Mass Art, where she is teaching a course called “Drawing for the First Time.” She has also taught art to children of all ages, primarily in community art settings.
Jaclyn Kain (Water Surfaces #2) teaches Photography at Simmons College and works as corporate art photographer for Fidelity Investments. Her work is represented by Gallery NAGA in Boston, has been exhibited in fifteen solo and group exhibitions throughout New England, and is held in several private, university, and museum collections.
Jacqueline Mancini (Lake) is an art student attending Suffolk University. She is a junior currently studying for a BFA in Illustration and a minor in Graphic Design. She is currently living on campus in Boston, MA, and her parents and younger brother live in Middleton, MA.
Judy Mason (Rain) has shown her paintings at Brookline Open Studios every spring since 2009; in the Coolidge Corner Library last October, Brick Wall Restaurant in January and February 2016, and Town Hall Walls November 2013-January 2014.
Katherine McVety (Hobbs Brook, Lower Basin) is a Massachusetts-based photographer whose work explores conceptions of place and landscape. Her recent work addresses weather and our changing climate. Her personal and professional work has been exhibited and published widely in the US and abroad. She is on the faculty of Lesley University College of Art and Design.
David Mussina (Shannon Beach) has focused his attention for the last eight years on the Mystic River, which flows through his neighborhood, and the Mystic River watershed. The outcome of this work will be a book, Urban Waters: The Mystic River Watershed. He recently retired after 32 years of teaching Photography at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University.
Anne Neely (Troubled Waters) is a painter and printmaker who divides her time between Boston, Massachusetts and Jonesport, Maine. She has won several awards for painting, was a finalist for the Prix de Rome, and was twice a finalist for the MASS Cultural Council Fellowship. In 2015, her work was featured in a solo exhibition, Water Stories, at the Museum of Science, Boston. Photo credit: Stewart Clements Photography.
John Redick (Breaking Waves) became drawn to painting while studying music during college. In creating paintings inspired by the ocean, Redick uses a fluid paint that runs and moves in waves and produces effects that mimic the natural look of waves. Redick’s work is on view at the Newport Art Museum, the Provincetown Art Museum, and L’Attitude Gallery in Boston.
Karin Rosenthal (My Monet) was first inspired by water while living in Greece some thirty years ago. Since then, Rosenthal has photographed in many natural settings and is particularly fond of Cape Cod and the Southwest. Her work is in collections at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Danforth Museum, and the Boston Public Library. She is a Scholar at the Women’s Studies Research Center at Brandeis University.
Nan Rumpf (Slow Drift) has been a visiting artist at Framingham State and Medfield High School. She currently teaches classes at the Danforth Museum School and workshops at her home studio in Wellesley. She is a board member of the Wellesley Society of Artists, an Artist Member of the Rhode Island Watercolor Society, and a Signature Member of the New England Watercolor Society.
Jeannie Simms (Lesbos Cyanotypes) work is rooted in photography and the moving image. She scours history and contemporary situations, contesting accepted perspectives and proposing new narratives with interests in language, labor, citizenship, and migration. She is Chair of the Photography Department at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston at Tufts University.
Diana Arcadipone (Swimming Bear) paints landscapes and animals with gouache as a reflection of her passion for the environment and nature. She incorporates traditional folk art and craft techniques, such as embroidery and beadwork, in her gouache and mixed media works. Arcadipone travels extensively as a means to expand her ideas, images, and materials. She teaches at The Lesley University College of Art and Design.
Isabel Beavers (Balsfjord) is a candidate in the Master of Fine Arts program at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University. She is interested in the philosophy of science, the intersecting histories of art and science, and how both are implicated in conceptions of nature and current cultural responses to climate change.
Cheryl Clinton (Woodland Water) has been inspired by water for many years. The ebb and flow of the Atlantic along the coast of Massachusetts, the play of light in the Aegean Sea, and the canals of Venice, Italy influenced her early work. Clinton has taught painting and drawing at the Danforth Museum School and was creator of Fountain Street Studios in Framingham.
Laura Fischman (Quieting) teaches painting at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University. Her work has been featured in New American Paintings, Paint Pulse Magazine, and the 365 Artists 365 Days online project. Her work has been exhibited at the National Weather Center Biennial in Norman, Oklahoma, the Courtyard Gallery at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and 808 Gallery Boston University.
Timed to coincide with the United Nations' celebration of World Water Day on March 22, the Waterworks invites you to reflect on our most precious natural resource: water. The artists brought together for this show take a deep look at the intrinsic beauty of water, and consider the impacts of climate change and global warming that threaten the drinking water of so many across the globe.