February 2 – March 3, 2023

Curator’s Statement

Water is a mysterious and sometimes contradictory element that can be soothing and peaceful, or sometimes forceful and destructive. Swimming, or rather being in water, feels as if I am dissolved. As if I have become part of it. I remember a pond I frequented in my childhood, you could jump into the water from the dock or wander in by the shore. If you chose the latter, you’d have a hard time avoiding the slimy algae growing on the rocks. They were beautiful to look at but felt strange to the touch, and instinctively you’d pull back from them. I always preferred diving in from the dock.

The idea behind this exhibit came when I worked on a series of cyanotypes made in the mineral-rich waters of Iceland last summer during a residency. There I learned truly how unpredictable but fascinating this element is. With the support of a grant form the Northampton Arts Council, I was able to travel to a landscape vastly different from the one I lived in. And as I worked directly with the land, I asked myself: is the water my collaborator, a space for internal reflection? Is this landscape my muse? And how might other artists define these kinds of relationships in their own work?

It is a delight to share the walls of the Sanford Gallery with Nancy Diessner and Edda Sigurðardóttir and see how each artist explores the mysteries of water and the memories it evokes. This show tells a story of landscapes that provoke in us a sense of wonder and curiosity about the world.

-Olivia Arau McSweeney