Shifting Baselines is my third show in the last year focused on water issues, and Cynthia Hooper has been in all of them. Actually, I also curated her video work in a show in 2010 titled EcoArchive in San Francisco. Needless to say, I think she is brilliant and is very informed about highly complicated political and economic issues around water distribution.
Hooper captures human interventions with video, mostly agricultural, in the landscape with an epic style of a romantic landscape painter. Although her landscapes are very luscious, they are also filled with a montage of disruptions that can ironically be seen as poetic. And, she is also a talented painter who depicts very small realistic scenes with printed text on large sheets of watercolor paper to both inform her viewers visually and intellectually with her writings of the many layers of politics involved in water management.
I first met Hugh Pocock in 2004 at the Santa Monica Museum of Art where he created a salt evaporation garden in their project room that appeared like a laboratory setting for a scientist. It was the first ecological installation I had seen at a museum that was aesthetically intriguing, as well as interactive, and educational.
Pocock works with materials such as water, dirt, wind, air in his performative installations.
For Shifting Baselines he decided to build on similar installations he's done in the past that address where water comes from and how it relates to our bodies, including a work he performed for the Contemporary Museum in Baltimore in 2009 titled myfoodmypoop.
Since his arrival in New Mexico, Pocock has been collecting buckets of snow from the Sangre de Cristo Mountains outside of Santa Fe, which he then filters after it melts to make bottles of drinking water available for participants in the exhibition space. -->
The great thing about this project is that as a curator it is the first time I have been invited to be in residence along with the artists as they create their work in the gallery before the exhibition opens.
To learn more about the Shifting Baselines residency and exhibition, please go to the Santa Fe Art Institute blog HERE.