July 16 - September 11, 2016
Water is a driving force in much of human civilization. We rely on it for commerce, energy, sustenance and pleasure. It is our most precious natural resource. It sustains life on Earth. And it is under threat. Close to a billion people worldwide don't have access to clean and safe water. The artists in this exhibition have created compelling artworks that provoke thought and awareness about some aspects of our relationship with water.
Between 2008 and 2013, internationally renowned photographer Edward Burtynsky traveled around the world photographing landscapes and human interventions that tell an epic story about our relationship to water, our uses for it, and the cumulative impact of human achievements and destruction. We are showing two large-scale photographs from Burtynsky¹s Water series: one depicts the Xiaolangdi Dam, the largest hydroelectric project in China, and the other captures an aerial view of the Cerro Prieto Geothermal Power Station in Mexico. The scale of these human incursions into natural systems is both frightening and awe inspiring.
Burtynsky says, ³I document landscapes that, whether you think of them as beautiful or monstrous, or as some strange combination of the two, are clearly not vistas of an inexhaustible, sustainable world."
Dundas-based artist, Christopher McLeod, uses interactive sculpture to generate a conversation about the use and misuse of water, and the energy required to create potable water.
Aqua Lauta is a water purifying machine McLeod designed and developed in collaboration with engineering students from McMaster University. The audience is encouraged to climb on board and engage through a pedal powered pump or use a hand cranked mechanical centrifuge connected to a gravity fed sand filtration unit. The energy a viewer expends performing the work reflects both the hidden effort involved in water purification and the potential of artwork to stimulate important conversations.
The work of our third artist in this show, Ernestine Tahedl, is comprised of a series of close-up photographs depicting the bubbling waters of a creek running along her farm in West Grey. Colours and textures from the stream bed weave in and out of images being reflected off the water's surface to create intricate tapestries full of depth and allure.
We are drawn to the images (and activities) in this exhibition in the same way that we are attracted to -- and yet must remain respectful of -- water itself.
Edward Burtynsky is known as one of Canada's most respected photographers. He achieved international recognition for his remarkable photographic depictions of global industrial landscapes housed in over fifty major museums around the world, including the National Gallery of Canada, Guggenheim Museum and Biblioteque Nationale in Paris.
Christopher McLeod is a multi-disciplinary artist working in southern Ontario. He received his BA from McMasters University in 2014 and his MA from the Emily Carr University in 2016. McLeod has been exhibiting nationally since 1998 and internationally since 2009.
Ernestine Tahedl was born and educated in Austria and received a Master's Degree in graphic art from the Vienna Academy of Applied Arts. She collaborated with her father, Professor Heinrich Tahedl, in the design and execution of stained glass commissions until she immigrated to Canada in 1963. Her studio is in King City, Ontario. Her work is represented in public, corporate and private collections and galleries in Canada, United States, France, Switzerland, Austria, and Japan