H2O Exhibit Opens at Houghton House Gallery – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

H2O Exhibit Opens at Houghton House Gallery

An art exhibit focusing on water and the human body, developed by Hobart and William Smith Colleges professor Jo Anna Isaak, will now be showcased in Geneva. Show artists Carol Cole, Janet Biggs, Mark Jones, Samm Kunce and Bonnie Rychlak will discuss their work at 5 p.m. Friday, April 4.

March 6, 2003 GENEVA, N.Y.—The art opening and reception for the exhibit “H2O” will be held from 6 until 8 p.m. on Friday, April 4, in the Houghton House Gallery on the Hobart and William Smith Colleges campus. Organized by Jo Anna Isaak, professor of art at the Colleges since 1984, this exhibition features the work of 23 artists including the environmental aesthetic photographs of Mark Jones, associate professor of art at the Colleges, as well as the work of Kiki Smith, Janine Antoni, Sally Mann, and Nancy Spero, and more. “H2O” artists Carol Cole, Janet Biggs, Mark Jones, Samm Kunce and Bonnie Rychlak will offer opening remarks at 5 p.m., and student docents will be available to discuss works with interested visitors. “H2O” will be on display through April 21 in the Houghton House Gallery.

In the exhibition, artists working in various media explore water as the major component of human bodies and of human origin. Numerous works in the exhibition convey the experience of pleasure and fear, or impart sensations of weightlessness and timelessness—the body buoyed by water or engaged in ritual cleansing, recreation, physical or spiritual healing. With activists deeming water the global issue of the 21st century, the exhibit’s composition is three parts ecology of body, land, and mind to one part global commons.

“The artists in the exhibition 'H2O' explore our relationship with the element that is the major component of our bodies, the site of our origins, and a matrix of the imagination,” Isaak said. “They focus on the water contained in our bodies and water that contains our bodies, actual ponds and rivers, as well as water that populates our dreams and reveries.”

“H2O” was on display at the Western Washington University Gallery in Bellingham, Wash., through January 2003, and then shown at the Elaine L. Jacob Gallery at Wayne State University in Detroit, Mich., from Feb. 7 through March 21, before its arrival at the Houghton House gallery.

Isaak has been the curator of other exhibits such as “Looking Forward Looking Black,” which has been on national tour since it premiered in 1999. Most recently “Looking Forward Looking Black” was on display at the Dayton Art Institute and will open at its next venue YMI Cultural Center in Asheville, N.C., on Dec. 13.

The “H2O” exhibit is sponsored in part by the Colleges' Fisher Center for the Study of Women and Men, through which various lectures are offered on campus. The theme this academic year is “Laboring Under Globalization”. Fisher Center lectures and seminars provide a forum for students, faculty and community members to explore gender issues. The Center, founded with a $1 million gift from Emily and Richard Fisher, whose son Alexander graduated from Hobart College in 1993, seeks to foster mutual understanding and social justice in contemporary gender issues.