"Water is another matter, it has no direction but its own bright grace..." --Pablo Neruda
Water is an emblem of fluidity in the material world. In dream analysis, water is a common Jungian metaphor for the subconscious mind. Its various naturally occurring and familiar man-made forms -- rivers, lakes, oceans; rain, dew, puddles; swimming pools, faucets, fountains; waterfalls, brooks, tall cold glasses to drink -- and its various states of calm, agitation, storminess, damming-up; cleanliness, darkness, dirtiness, purity; scarcity, gentleness, power, depth, and danger indicate a range of emotions from fear to fertility, inspiration, exuberance, soaring serenity, and existential unrest. Dreaming these factors reveals an understanding of one's basic state of being. Painting with water is a little like that, too.
Water-based paints, inks, and dyes find their level, following water's laws which despite the pigments' duties as studio materials are in fact the laws of nature. Direct, immediate, nuanced, and responsive to the artist's hand, water-based mediums defy attempts at revision, demanding that the artist work quickly and intuitively, and be acutely present in the moment. These Water-Workers deploy their materials in a diverse array of styles; some embrace the chaos, some set themselves a challenge of directing it. But all are drawn to water's ineluctably lively physicality; and all have made their peace with getting wet and messy.
WATER WORKS is curated by Juri Koll, and features a group of artists who, "use watercolor, inks, and other liquid media for a variety of reasons...". Open through August 17 at Porch Gallery, Ojai.