Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Something About the Water

Every field of endeavor has its slogans and the arts are no different. "Ars longa, vita brevis" has been attributed to the Greek physician and philosopher Hippocrates, famous for the Hippocratic Oath which persons in the medical professions swear by. ("First, do no harm.")

In the early 19th century the slogan l'art pour l'art' (Art for art's sake) was adopted as central to a movement that sought to liberate art, poetry and creative expression from the need to be utilized for causes or other purposes beyond its own existence. To some extent it was a reaction against pressure to use art as an evangelistic tool or to promote political or commercial ends.

To my knowledge, however, there is no universal philosophy to which all artists swear by, and for this reason art has been used for every imaginable endeavor from leading revolutions to winning a young maiden's heart to decorating a living room to inspiring a song.

Nor is there a universal subject matter for artists. Visual artists are often captivated by light. Many artists, Van Gogh for example, filled canvases with images of daily life, from shoes to farmers harvesting. Portraits are a common theme, especially when it comes to people of importance. A new portrait of the Queen of England was unveiled this week.

Nevertheless, there are some recurring themes that run through much that is created by artists. One of these is nature, and here in the North Country this is accompanied by a deep appreciation of and respect for the great lake that our city on a hillside stretches itself against as if in a passionate embrace.

All this is preface to a modest but interesting art show that is on display in the dining area of Duluth's Whole Foods Co-op from June 6-28.  Several local artists are involved in this group exhibition aimed at raising awareness for water-related issues leading up to Lake Superior Day in August. The exhibition, called Respect Protect Fulfill-We Humans Need Water to Exist will be followed by Tonya Borgeson's solo exhibit June 29 through August 7th called Waters, What about the Waters IV. The artists whose work is currently featured in June include Kristen Anderson, Tonya Borgeson, Sarah Brokke Erickson, Maritn DeWitt, Adu Gindy and Ann Klefstad.

Borgeson’s aim with this show is to increase the viewer’s global awareness and appreciation for the interconnection of all life. “Water is everybody's business,” she said.

The co-op, in case you were not aware, has some very tasty food in their deli for patrons of the store. The enclosed dining area has large windows so that if you face south you can see Lake Superior's vast wingspan, the largest freshwater lake in the world. Many of us take these pristine waters for granted. We are blissfully ignorant of the fact that 1.1 billion people on this planet have no access to safe, clean drinking water. Most of us are unaware that lack of clean water kills more people than war.

The show aims to help us think more deeply about this part of our lives we so often take for granted and to examine our daily patterns and actions related to water usage. I recommend checking it out, even if for no other reason than to appreciate the art for its own sake. Grab something to eat, and take a seat.

What do you think about the world's water crisis? It's something to think about.

All photos here provided by Tonya Borgeson who curated this show. 

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1 comment:

adee said...

i really liked this post. its almost quaint in its charm :)
and i wish i wud hav attended this exhibition u mentioned.