Artist Elizabeth Chiles Highlights Texas Landscape in Solo Exhibition This Summer
On Tuesday, July 16, 2019, Austin's Central Library opens On Water, a solo exhibition featuring 14 large scale photographs and photographic collages by artist Elizabeth Chiles. Presented in the library's main gallery, On Water showcases two series of Chiles' work, many of which are on public display for the first time: Figs from Thistles, created in 2013 during the worst Texas drought in over a century, and On Water, created in 2018 during months of historic flooding along the Colorado River.
Chiles' photographs, taken throughout Texas state parks and along the Colorado River, capture the local environment at two extremes, prompting viewers to both appreciate its natural beauty and consider its long-term sustainability. Dried native grasses and improbably hopeful wildflowers are juxtaposed with lush plant life and vivid colors, revealing how water-or the lack thereof-has the ability to shape our surrounding landscape.
Complementing the works on view are a series of the artist's black-on-black lumen prints, featuring a range of plants from pre-historic ferns to modern-day, drought-resistant varieties. Also on display are related books from the Central Library's collection.
In presenting these works together, Chiles contemplates how our knowledge of pollution and climate change affects our perception of the environment. Instead of embracing our surroundings, we start to question whether or not the landscape we are experiencing is healthy. Chiles uses subtle cues throughout the exhibition to signify this uncertainty: unexpected color shifts; diptychs with two related, yet different, views; and the funereal color palette of the lumen prints.
"I'm honored to partner with the Austin Central Library to present On Water," said Elizabeth Chiles. "Often, what's happening to our environment is hardly visible on a day-to-day basis. This exhibition, through subtlety and feeling, asks questions about what's happening to our water systems in Texas and hopefully inspires each of us to make changes toward protecting our planet."
Curated by Jieun-Beth Kim, exhibit coordinator at the Central Library, On Water remains on view through Friday, August 19, 2019. On Water is free of charge and accessible during the Central Library's open hours: Sundays, 12 PM to 6 PM; Monday-Thursdays, 10 AM to 9 PM; Friday-Saturdays, 10 AM to 6 PM.
Photo Credit: Elizabeth Chiles