River Relations

June 8 - August 17, 2019
Reid Gallery & West Gallery

River Relations: A Beholder's Share of the Columbia River

Nick Conbere, Rita Wong, John Holmgren, Genevieve Robertson, Fred Wah, Zoe Kostuchuk, Mathew Evenden, and Emmy Willis

River Relations is an interdisciplinary artistic research project undertaken as a reflection of the damming and development of the Columbia River in British Columbia, Washington and Oregon, and the upcoming renegotiation of the Columbia River Treaty. Five artists, two writers, and a geographer began by investigating and comparing historical and contemporary imagery and documentation of the river. Exploring the ideas and story line that emerged, the project contributes to ongoing dialogue around the river through visual art, writing, and public engagement.

Through the creative process, the team synthesized personal experiences along the river with material found through research. The exhibition acknowledges the benefits of hydroelectric development while questioning the cultural and ecological costs of basin-wide industrial development. The resulting artwork uses real-world information that resonates metaphorically and allegorically, creating a space for the imagination and contemplation of human/nature relationships.