The Kaneko’s new exhibit Water, which opens this Friday, Feb. 5, utilizes both science and art to enlighten the public to the future importance of arguably earth’s greatest resource.
Artists showcased in Water include Omahans Susan Knight, known for her fiber work, ceramicist Iggy Sumnik, figure and nature photographer Kat Moser, and mixed-media artist Ying Zhu.
Those outside the region include Connecticut artist Suzan Shutan, native Nebraskan photographer for National Geographic, Joel Sartore, Kansas City installation artist Matthew Dehaemer, Minnesotan photo/encsustic artist Clare O’Neill, Korean installation artist Ran Hwang and French photographer Pierre Carreau.
All have dealt with the impact on water and the environment in their artwork. Knight’s “Water Bank Boogie” (shown) is a small section of hand-cut paper of one of her colorful two-piece presentations. Ying contributes a double fish tank piece that demonstrates the concept that only three parts of contaminate per billion can harm water.
Shutan has teamed with a local Omaha high school art class to create a collaged map of Nebraska, which incorporates pom poms to indicate the state’s underground water-well densities—an interactive display.
Nearby, Ran Hwang will show six exquisite wall panels of crystals on Plexiglas in a chandelier effect. In the large hall entry Carreau presents four large and elegant high-speed photos of waves to demonstrate the power of oceans.
The west end of this space highlights 11 photographs and their text curated from a juried book, "Open to Interpretation: Water's Edge," published by O'Neill. The book is a collaboration of phototgraphers and writers who do indeed interpret the exhibit theme in their own chosen imagery. Adjacent to these is a photo of Moser, who was originally included in "Water's Edge," and which replicates the book's intent and process by inviting written responses from Kaneko visitors during the exhibit.
Not forgetting the scientific component, the east Bow Truss area will feature the science of water, along with a working hand-built water tower similar to those built in Africa.
The second floor will display ideas to make more food with less water in the future. A profusion of nonprofit organizations have joined in this building-wide educational effort. Valmont Industries, the major sponsor of this exhibit, features a center pivot irrigation sculpture assembled by Dehaemers to highlight the company’s commitment to water management.
An aquaponics display will show the combined raising of fish to feed plants. The east area will also show time-lapse videos of river changes and wall dialogue displays. This building-wide exhibit offers information for a much-needed dialogue about water locally as well as globally.
Only 2% of the world’s water is now accessible and safe to drink. Understanding this issue is the first step towards innovation and solutions. Water, which is free to the public, continues at Kaneko, 1111 Jones St., continues till April 23, 2016. For details and visiting hours go to thekaneko.org/water.