Review | The Rib

Water is Everything
Drive-By Projects
November 18, 2017-January 16, 2018

Review by Mallory A. Ruymann for The Rib

Water is Everything unpacks the physical, historical, and socio-political shape of water with paintings by Judith Belzer and Cheryl Molnar, and works on paper by Joseph Smolinski and Shannon Rankin.

Molnar's contribution, Cliffside, depicts a house balancing on the edge of a cliff, a structure which Molnar delicately incised into the painting’s wood support. Though not explicitly rendered, erosion and other landscape elements (represented by dense clusters of painted paper) associated with our rapidly changing coastlines hint at the presence of water. Belzer’s small untitled oil-on-canvases (from the Half Empty Half Full series) portray the Hoover and Glen Canyon dams. The breakdown of the renewable water cycle means that these dams will soon become obsolete, though their physical forms will persist. Belzer paints the dams in an abstract style that de-emphasizes their present function in favor of their form, presaging their unproductive--but stylized--future role as monuments. The future also concerns Smolinski, whose phosphorescent-like Open Water drawings capture the uncertainty of what climate change may do to bodies of water. Rankin’s Earth Embroideries preserve satellite images of arctic landscapes in the medium of thread on paper, counteracting the ongoing transformation wrought on those landscapes by slowly melting glaciers. A cluster of branded water bottles stands on a plinth at the front window of the exhibition. Not credited to any particular artist, the cooperative sourcing of these vessels offers a potential salve to water’s precarious state. By working collectively around shared goals, we can perhaps determine the destiny of water.

- Mallory A. Ruymann

Shannon Rankin