Night and Day the River Flows: Waterscapes from the Harnett Print Study Center Collection is on view from August 17, 2016 to July 2, 2017, in the Modlin Center Atrium and Booker Hall Lobby, University of Richmond. The exhibition presents a selection of artworks that offer a variety of interpretations and depictions of waterways, from abstract to realistic and from topographic to contemplative. The works are presented with quotes from novels, books, songs, and poems that complement the pieces by reflecting on the common theme of the relationship between humanity and water.
Bodies of water have populated artistic creations throughout history, acting as descriptive features of landscapes and as metaphors of life and spirituality. While the artworks in this exhibition are primarily from the 20th and 21st centuries, they capture the timelessness of the subject matter, along with its grace and vitality. The diversity of the accompanying quotes, which range from the mid-1800s to today, underlines the individual nature of how we experience waterways and how we interpret and express those experiences.
To emphasize the meditative and introspective qualities of the screenprint James River Spring I by Jackie Battenfield (American, born 1950), the print is presented with a quote from Herman Hesse’s novel Siddhartha (1922), which reads: “The river is everywhere at the same time, at the source and at the mouth… in the ocean and in the mountains, everywhere, and that the present only exists for it, not the shadow of the past, nor the shadow of the future.”
The luminous spread of water and shore in the nearly abstract aquatint June: Silver Clouds by Bernard Chaet (American, 1924-2012) brings to mind peaceful afternoons, such as those heralded in John Lubbock’s book The Use of Life (1894): “Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under the trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the blue sky, is by no means a waste of time.”
An intimate etching juxtaposing a small boat with an expanse of water and reeds, On the Lagoon (In Laguna) by Livio Ceschin (American, born 1962), contemplates stillness and isolation. This print is paired with the quote, “To know you is to have solitude of you and in you to rest of the rest forgetfulness,” from Alfonso Reyes’s poem “River of Oblivion” (1932) for a thoughtful reflection on the stilling of the heart around a massive body of water.
The exhibition is on view in the Modlin Center Atrium and the Booker Hall Lobby in the Modlin Center for the Arts, open from 9:00am to 5:00pm, Monday through Friday, and during events.
Organized by the University of Richmond Museums, the exhibition was curated by N. Elizabeth Schlatter, Deputy Director and Curator of Exhibitions, University Museums, and Carly E. Cahill, 2016 Harnett Summer Research Fellow, University Museums. The exhibition is presented in conjunction with the Modlin Center for the Arts yearlong focus on the environment and The Nile Project.
Friday, September 23, 2016, 11:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Curator’s Talk, Harnett Print Study Center, Modlin Center for the Arts
“Selections from the Harnett Print Study Center Collection” Carly Cahill, 2016 Harnett Summer Research Fellow, University Museums
In conjunction with the exhibitions HPSC@15: A Celebration of the Harnett Print Study Center and Night and Day the River Flows: Waterscapes from the Harnett Print Study Center Collection