An exhibit showcasing the work of artist and Brock University Associate Professor and Chair of Visual Arts Amy Friend has gained international attention.
Friend was one of eight artists from around the world invited to exhibit their photography at a summer show entitled Ocean at Bildhalle gallery in Zurich, Switzerland. Bildhalle, founded in 2013 by Mirjam Cavegn, is a highly respected art gallery presenting world class photography.
The exhibition, which explores the motif of water through different aesthetics, was recently featured in the International Edition of The Guardian in their Art and Design section. The article displayed a selection of images from the exhibition and provided details on each artist and their work.
In her artistic practice, the theme of water and ever-shifting seascapes is of great interest to Friend and is woven through much of her creative work. Due to the travel restrictions of the global pandemic, Friend found herself reflecting on past times at the seaside during which she collected samples of water from across the world.
Friend’s photographs featured in the Ocean exhibition came to fruition when she revisited 20 years worth of her photographs involving water and seascapes. Drawing on the notion that photography acts a as vault containing moments from the past, she fused her ideas together.
“Looking at the abundant images of water in my personal collection, I began to consider my connection to these places and what it meant to take so many images like this,” said Friend. “I questioned what was possible to accomplish with this collection, given my stationary position due to COVID.”
After selecting a series of the photographs, Friend printed them and then soaked them in the salt water she had collected during previous travels.
“Over time, the sea water evaporated, leaving a residue of salt on the print,” Friend said.
She said her pieces Tiny Tears Fill the Ocean (2020) and Endothelium Waves (2020) examine the connection between the body and the ocean.
“The interplay between the salt content of water and the salt content of our bodies, including our tears, is of particular interest,” she said. “Our bodily connection to place is something that continues to resurface in my practice.”
Through the exploration of themes of tears and loss, there is an environmental aspect to the work. Although the photographs are not specifically about the effects of climate change, Friend said “it is important to reflect on loss from an environmental standpoint when viewing these works.”
With the exhibition running into the fall, Friend is looking forward to sharing the details of her experience with her students.
“It is important that they see others actively engaging within a creative community. By sharing my experience with them, I hope to provide a bit of real-world insight related to the planning and trouble-shooting involved when preparing for exhibitions,” she said.
To view the exhibition Ocean, visit the Bildhalle website.