Water Flow: Under the Colorado River, Photograms by Kathleen Velo Opens to the Public Saturday, January 16

December 10 / 2015

TMA_newlogo_Lhorizontal (2)FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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Laura Cortelyou, Director of PR and Marketing
(520) 616-2687
LCortelyou@TucsonMuseumofArt.org

Water Flow: Under the Colorado River
Photograms by Kathleen Velo
Opens to the Public Saturday, January 16

TUCSON, ARIZONA (December 9, 2015) – Human life could not exist without fresh water, yet in what ways do we imagine water resources other than as a taken-for-granted necessity? Arizona photographic artist Kathleen Velo explores water –- its sources and over usage –- with a novel approach, capturing images at night from below the surface. Water Flow: Under the Colorado River, Photograms by Kathleen Velo, opening Saturday, January 16, 2016, at the Tucson Museum Museum of Art (TMA) in historic downtown Tucson, focuses on the Colorado River from its headwaters in the Colorado Rocky Mountains, through Utah, Arizona, Nevada, and California, to its destination in the Sea of Cortez in Mexico.

“Kathleen Velo literally immerses herself into her subject—the Colorado River and its shifting water qualities on its journey to Mexico,” said Dr. Julie Sasse, TMA Chief Curator and Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art. “Her stunning photograms serve not only as reminders of pressing environmental issues, but also as poetic symbols of life journeys–-both imperfections and beauty inherent along the way.”

Captured at night as photograms, Velo’s works reflect the location and the varying visible qualities of water at sites along the Colorado River. The original photograms are created directly on chromogenic photographic paper in the river during the dark of night. Once the paper is submerged under water, it is exposed with a hand-held flash, and an image of the silt, sediment, plant life, minerals, and viscosity is captured on the paper. The interaction of these elements with the photographic emulsion creates an alchemy that provides colors that authenticate the unique character of the water in each location.

Velo’s key objective is to create a visual representation of the precarious and transient qualities of the Colorado River, a critical social and environmental issue affecting millions of people in the Western and Southwestern United States.

Velo, a former Fulbright Scholar, was born in Chicago and lives in Tucson, Arizona. Growing up in the Midwest, where water is plentiful, she moved to the Desert Southwest in the 1980, where she gained a new respect for the transcendent qualities of this important life force. As a process-driven artist, Velo has created a simplified technique to maximize her interaction with the natural fusion of light, chemistry, and space. To capture her images, she uses camera-less, pinhole, and plastic camera techniques.

Water Flow: Under the Colorado River, Photograms by Kathleen Velo will remain on view at TMA until July 3, 2016.

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