Group Exhibition | Elements: Water  
February 2 - 18, 2023

Foster/White Gallery returns to its series of group exhibitions focused on the classical elements with Elements: Water, featuring a range of media from photography and collage to painting, textile, and sculpture. Following its predecessors Elements: Earth (2020) and Elements: Fire (2021), the latest thematic collection draws from both new and prior work by many of the gallery's artists spread across the North American continent and Australia, including locals Tony Angell, John de Wit, Eva Isaksen, and Cameron Anne Mason. Representations of water alternate from figurative to abstract, and while the color blue is a popular choice, especially for painters, there are wonderful departures from expectation.

Ancient philosophers as diverse as Heraclitus and Lao Tzu recognized the fascinating qualities of this form of matter, calling our attention to the ways in which water " fluid, soft, and yielding. But [it] will wear away rock, which is rigid and cannot yield. This is another paradox: what is soft is strong,” wrote Lao Tzu, while the most famous of Heraclitus' fragments distinguishes that we "cannot step twice in the same river," since it would imply that "we both are and are not.

From left to right: Cody Cobb, CC297, Edition of 10, archival pigment print, 40 x 30 inches; Eric Zener, Man Treading Water, mixed media on panel with resin, 30.5 x 41 inches


Throughout Elements: Water, participating artists are about evenly divided in terms of abstract versus figurative approaches, with an abundant blend of both in many pieces. The figurative work explores water's motion, its mirror-like quality,  transparency and luminosity (David Burdeny, Robert Marchessault, Steven Nederveen), as well as the animals that live in such environments like water birds  and whales (Andre Petterson, Tony Angell, Sarah McRae Morton). Human beings are often absent, yet when they occur they appear almost lethargic (Joshua Jensen-Nagle) or mysteriously illuminated (Eric Zener).


Carol Inez Charney, After Abraham Mignon 2: Still Life With Fruit, Oysters, and a Porcelain Bowl, 1660-1679, Edition of 8, chromogenic print, 40 x 40 inches

As painter David Hockney fascinatingly observed about his obsession with swimming pools, water "...can be any colour, it’s movable, it has no set visual description,” and thus representations of it, whether figurative, abstract, or somewhere in between, can be hypnotizing. As much as they paint or sculpt, photograph, weave or carve their materials -- these nimble artists are not just sharing a collective interest in water as a subject, but giving us a glimpse at the elusive sources of inspiration that float and drift along currents of imagination. Artists, like poets, delight in the paradoxes and dualities inherent in the human condition, and as our sun begins its journey into the Aquarius constellation, we invite you to plunge into the New Year with Elements: Water.

Old pond...
a frog leaps in:

- Basho (ca. 1686)



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