It is hard for me to pinpoint how the Water Garden came into existence. After having completed Family Trees, and after having shown successfully in several venues including The Katzen Arts Center in Washington, Gallery 1112 Society for the Arts in Chicago, Gunter Grass Gallery in Gdansk, Poland, and at Museum Kampa in Prague, and having found a permanent home for the installation at the Institute Valencia Arte Modern in Valencia, Spain, I prepared to go ahead with a sequel of this installation featuring my own grandchildren.
Before I plunged into this idea, my friend Aneta Shine, an art historian, showed me some summer photos of a her daughter playing in a water fountain. The scenes in the photos captured my imagination, so much so that I had ideas buzzing in my mind and I began to experiment with the images, visioning them on paper or being pasted into hollowed and polished tree trunks.
In working out the details, what became central to the installation was not just the children and their reactions to the water spouts, but the water itself wildly spraying the kids and the surroundings. It was challenging to bring out the joy, as well as the anxiety that the children expressed in the photographs.
With its theme of childhood joy the installation is easy to live with, and the subjects were caught completely off guard. None of the poses are self-conscious. As I worked, it was my desire to portray the children in their natural gestures, and with unselfconscious reactions of joy and surprise with the water spouts. The result of these ideas is my Water Garden.
I hope to show this installation in Chicago at Gallery 1112 in September of this year. Stay tuned for more updates.