"H2O," Jan. 7-Feb. 15, 2004, at Crossroads School for Arts and Sciences, 1714 21st Street, Santa Monica, Ca. 90404
Water is a staple not only of human life, but of the human psyche. "H2O," a group exhibition organized by Lothar Schmitz for the Sam Francis Gallery at Crossroads School for Arts and Science in Santa Monica, took a broad view of both the literal nature and historical relevance of water.
The artists in the show included S.E. Barnet, Adam Belt, Eva Castringius, the Center for Land Use Interpretation, Miles Coolidge, Toby Heys, Jeremy Kidd, Manfred Menz and Laura Parker. S.E. Barnet's Pucker, a witty and curiously seductive sculptural video installation, includes a small child's wading pool. Projected onto the water is the image of a woman squeezing the juice from a lemon into her mouth. She is at once submerged, yet unable to satisfy her thirst.
Barnet's work played off of Adam Belt's sculpture Schism, an elegant Minimalist arrangement of both saltcake and loose salt that provided its own exploration into aridity. Appearing like a seepage on the gallery floor, the work revealed "a contrast between structure and flow, but also inherent patterns present in the chemical structure of the salt."
Laura Parker gave us Knife Reflection, a photograph that captures movement and color and does not directly reference a knife at all. The image stands as something whole and complete, yet the movement suggests falling water, a strange disruption in space and time.
Eva Castringius' photographs of aqueducts in the Los Angeles basin, by contrast, stand as testaments to time and the constant transition of the landscape. The photographs look vaguely Edenic, or even extraterrestrial, the landscape ominously empty. Manfred Menz also photographs landmarks then digitally erases parts of them, leaving only the surrounding areas. These images too are haunting and strangely myopic.
Jeremy Kidd came in with another home run with his digitally altered Lava Lake. Water extends down the center and through a canyon. Kidd has strategically placed a series of green "growths" into the lake, some of which are actually affixed to the image itself like small pieces of algae or "Martian relics."
All the works in this show transformed with grace and understanding either the fluidity and unpredictability of water, or its stasis, making us more aware than ever, of our essential dependence on it.