Octavia Art Gallery is pleased to present “AQUAZOA: Micro Dramas in Peril,” a solo exhibition featuring Betsy Stewart. Join Betsy for the opening reception, November 6 from 6pm to 8pm. The exhibition will run through December 1, 2010.
Examining the biodiversity in pond water, Betsy Stewart encourages the viewer to consider the unseen. Using microscopic imagery from water sources, Betsy’s paintings inflict a sense of interconnectedness. Betsy’s imagery is best described in the words of John Muir, “when we tug at a single thing in nature, we find that it is attached to the rest of the world.” In giving the mutually dependent life systems found in pond water a visual presence, referencing both the micro and macro elements of the universe, Betsy reveals the fragility of our position in the cosmos. While Betsy is specifically examining water, the themes presented in her work are universal.
Water is integral in our daily experiences, and to our existence. Recent works, which will be featured in “AQUAZOA: Micro Dramas in Peril,” include the Natales River Suite and the unveiling of Bioverse. Both of these works continue to explore the microscopic life systems within water sources. Bioverse emphasizes the visual ambiguity between micro and macro. Microscopic life systems are presented on an 8 x 7 foot diptych canvas, creating a cosmic feel. The Natales River Suite is a response to the influence of rivers. The series reflects both Betsy’s personal connection to water as well as her connection to New Orleans. As a city surrounded by water, New Orleans owes its existence to the rivers and lakes that also make it vulnerable. Betsy’s representation of the unseen using layers of color and biomorphic images, emphasizes the greater idea that in all morphing that is occurring in biodiversity, something is always endangered. So much that is happening beyond the limits of the human eye, is critical to our environment.
Betsy Stewart is a participant in “Take Me To The River,” (TMTTR) an international collaboration between artists from different countries whose mission is to promote greater understanding among nations and peoples through cultural projects. Aligned with Betsy’s themes, TMTTR chose the river because of the positive and life-affirming connotations of water. Since 2002 the exhibition has been presented in Cairo, Egypt, Washington D.C, Pretoria, South Africa, and Wichita Falls, Texas. In addition, TMTTR traveled to Istanbul, Turkey in 2009 to be exhibited in conjunction with the 5th World Water Forum.
Betsy is featured in public collections both nationally and internationally, as well as museum collections at the Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake, NY, Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington D.C., Kreeger Museum in Washington D.C., Pretoria Art Museum in Pretoria, South Africa and the Wichita Falls Art Museum in Wichita Fall, Texas.