Water Works as Art in New Gallery Exhibit

During an afternoon when art met education, the GCC Art Gallery along with the Porch Gallery Ojai and Venice Institute of Contemporary Art, welcomed the internationally juried exhibition “Water Works 2” by holding a panel discussion and artist reception on Sept.12.

“Water Works 2” is an exhibit that sheds light on countless water issues in our environment through the medium of art. The panel discussion was followed by an artist reception, where GCC students and guests were able to socialize with the artists and discuss their artwork.

Art Gallery Director Caryl St. Ama spoke of the importance of the work. “I think most of the pieces are more metaphorical so it makes students think about the message instead of having it kind of slapped in the head,” she said.

From charcoal graffiti to plastic bags woven in crochet, “Water Works 2” is an educationally impactful and visually inspiring exhibit. The exhibit showcases work from local artists such as Catherine Ruane, Ann Phong, MB Boissonnault and more.

A collaborative piece done by women all over the U.S. and countries as far as Brazil, “Something In The Water” by Wendy Osher, portrays how polluted water affect women’s breasts.
Through the use of plastic bags woven in multi- colored crochet, Osher represents the different toxins that settle in a woman’s breast and are passed down to newborns through breast milk. Osher’s piece is an eye-opener to an alarming and global issue.

Otis College of Arts and Design’s graduate, Ruane, has been pursuing her craft for over 35 years. Her painting, “River”, is a charcoal graffiti that references how we treat water and live in an environment where all living things rely on the consumption of water to survive.

“The water consumption is not just about humans, it is about the whole life system that depends on a healthy riparian life,” Ruane said.
During the discussion the artist touched on the importance of raising awareness on environmental issues through art.

“Water Works 2” gives prominence to the important role water plays on our lives and on earth.

Cal Poly Pomona art professor, Ann Phong, believes we can make a favorable change to our environment by joining groups and organizations whose driving force is to clean our oceans.

As an immigrant from Vietnam yet long time resident in of the US, professor Phong draws inspiration from her love and respect towards the ocean by using loose brush stroke to create her painting, “There Was Clean Water.”

“Most of my work focuses on the ocean because I crossed the ocean from Vietnam to come to America, so the ocean means a lot to me,” Phong said. “But recently when I go to the beach area I see we humans pollute it in many ways.”

Even though we all understand to some degree the importance water has on our daily lives, it’s even more important to reflect and analyze the impact we have on it as well.

Water Works 2 runs through Oct.1 at the GCC Art Gallery.