Although fall is upon us, Hilton Asmus Contemporary has embraced the divisions of the year with a new paradigm, and by doing so, redefining our mission as a gallery. In preparing for the opening of our first show of the season, we went through a soul-searching exploration on who we are and what we want to be. What are we presenting to the world? What is the role of a gallery and the role of an artist in relation to the collector, to the public and to the rest of humanity? In asking these questions to ourselves, we decided to go back to the beginning...of life, that is, and decided on a theme that we feel is one of the most vital components of life as we know it: WATER.
"Water," is defined in Webster's dictionary as: a clear liquid that has no color, taste, or smell, that falls from clouds as rain, that forms streams, lakes, and seas, and that is used for drinking, washing, etc. The dictionary does not talk about other aspects of water, the history of water or the history that water creates and has always been part of; or the fact that 70% of the earth is made up of water. When a baby is born it is composed of nearly 90% water and as we become adults, we are composed of approximately 70% water. It is an interesting coincidence that the earth and the human body are made up of nearly the same percentage of this clear, odorless liquid. The dictionary does not discuss the fact that humans must consume water in order to stay alive or that three quarters of the fresh water on earth is used to irrigate the agriculture that sustains us. All of the components in cells (proteins, DNA etc.) are dissolved in water, deriving their form and activity from their interactions with water.
Water is an amazing compilation of atoms. Two parts hydrogen to one part oxygen, it is the only substance occurring naturally in three phases as solid, liquid and gas on Earth's surface. There is nothing in this universe that is not affected in some way by water. Exploring the inception of life, one finds that water is the main source of connection to all that exists. Much of the water in the universe is produced as a by product of star formation. On earth, water is used for power generation and transportation.
Water is a strategic resource. Only 2.5% of the water on the earth is fresh water. With the population swelling to seven billion, scarcity of water has become a political weapon in many countries. Water rights have long been a source of conflict in many areas of the world. The human interconnection to water is pervasive in every aspect of life. It is important that in this age of technology, information and human evolution, we take into account the value of this life sustaining element. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the Great Lakes are the largest freshwater system on the Earth, comprising 84% of North America's surface fresh water and 21% of the world's supply of surface water. The Great Lakes are used to supply drinking water to tens of millions of people. It is imperative that we take care of these essential waterways.
Our goal at Hilton Asmus Contemporary is to bring this subject to light and feature this essence of life with a gorgeous collection of works by British born, world-renowned photographer, Hugh Arnold. "Agua Nacida," meaning "water born" in Spanish, is a unique collection of large-scale underwater nudes, photographed amidst the unspoiled depths of the seas surrounding Fiji and Gozo.
In an interview with HUNGER TV in London, Arnold stated, "I wanted Agua Nacida to span the symbolic transition from the cocoon of the womb, to carefree childhood, the discovery of adolescence, the sensuality of womanhood and the pain of birth, depicting each stage in the process through physical actions. I realized that I was touching something much more profound than I set out to do because everything that I had done up to this point professionally had included artifice and ego in some form or other. The moment you submerge yourself in water, no matter who you are, the ego disappears and you touch the true essence of your nature. It’s almost like going back to the beginning, being reborn, hence the title of the book – Agua Nacida ie. water born. The images take us on a parallel journey beneath the surface of the sea. Our souls’ hidden waters come from a powerful, pure and deep place that I am only now starting to understand. We are all water born...."
More to come as we prepare for the Preview reception on September 5th.....