Soothing Struggle

In this body of work I explore the complex intersections between the environmental and cultural significance of water in contemporary society. These drawings are a collection of narratives depicting scenes in which water acts as both a source of struggle and pleasure. My intention is to complicate our understanding of water as resource, as it is both necessity and calamity. Through looking at the relationship between humanity and the natural world, I investigate the diverse attributes of water by juxtaposing its destructive powers with the pleasure of swimming. The photograph transfers, from The Reach Gallery Museum archives, depict scenes from the 1948 Fraser Valley flood. The images of the devastation caused by the flood lay embedded in pools of graphite that hint darkly to the qualities of water. Though I use images from a specific time and place, they reference natural disasters and destruction water has caused on a global scale. In contrast to the destructive images, the depicted swimmers and bathers experience water as a means of pleasure. I draw attention to the ghostly figures by eliminating or emphasizing the natural features of the transferred images. Equally conceptual and representational, these drawings serve as a springboard for speculation about the diverse nature of our most needed natural resource.

Photos courtesy of The Reach Gallery Museum archives