When despair for the world grows in me...
I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
—Wendell Berry, The Peace of Wild Things (excerpt)
The element of water is essential to life, in both symbolic and literal ways. Still waters bring peace—unless you are becalmed in the middle of an ocean. Stormy seas signal trouble. Lack of water means death; it threatens to be the most contested resource of the twenty-first century. Oceans, rivers, and lakes have been a source of sustenance, providing food and employment, and supporting commerce. As a vehicle for sailing ships, water is associated with epic journeys in literature and life, from The Odyssey to an immigrant’s arrival in a new world. Artists have long been lured by its song.
Water Ways offers the opportunity to examine themes of travel, work, leisure, religious ritual, nature’s succor—and its fury. A diverse selection of paintings and works on paper, both grand and intimate, are on view, featuring the art of Ansel Adams, Romare Bearden, Emil Furst, Louis-Gabriel-Eugene Isabey, Robert C. May, Ralph Eugene Meatyard, and Doris Ulmann, among others.
image credit: ROMARE BEARDEN, Siren's Song, from the Odysseus Suite 1979, color screen print on paper. Collection of the UK Art Museum. Anonymous gift
Tues. - Thu.: 10am to 5 pm
Fri.: 10am to 8 pm
Sat. - Sun.: noon to 5pm
Closed Mondays & University Holidays.