Constructing Water

Work In Progress

Constructing Water

(We Are All (Under) Water)


Using underwater reference photos taken at the sites of dams, I am constructing water using hand-cut Dura-Lar, fishing line and screws. The pieces will be installed in the 6’x 6’x 6’ Gray Space cube, constructed of steel and plexiglas, and placed on site at the dams.

Each original piece will be made using reference material of water collected at dams which affect my local watershed. After each piece is constructed, it will be installed in the Gray Space cube at corresponding locations. I will remain on-site with each installation throughout the day, documenting changes as the light shifts, and any interactions with audiences. The artwork can also be placed within the Gray Space cube exhibition space at public outdoor locations in my local community and throughout the Pacific Northwest.

In 2008 I created a pivotal project influenced by environmental decision-making processes of scientists, resource managers, and special interest groups during the FERC relicensing of my local watershed’s dams and canals. This experience, and decades of kayaking and rafting whitewater, informs my process.

Since a 2012 residency at the HJ Andrews Experimental Forest, I have used the Andrews as the base for extended place-based projects exploring ecological changes. Working with scientists helps me create my own systems, enabling me to collect and process data. I use the information to deconstruct an image of a landscape, then to construct an alternative way of interpreting the environment.

My previous work exploring chromatic environmental changes was informed by scientific graphing of data to represent change. With this project I am not creating chromatic patterns with paint; I am introducing the ambiguous forms of water into the artwork, yet eliminating any chromatic elements.

We have affected every environment and ecosystem on the earth, directly or indirectly, altering our environment to fit our specific needs, thus affecting the way that nature is perceived. Constructing an image of water with industrialized materials, and allowing the environment to contribute, brings the landscape out of a romanticized place of beauty to highlight the reality of nature that we have created. The material itself is reflective as well as transparent. Viewers can see themselves as they simultaneously look through a constructed representation of water at the “natural” environment itself.

The making of Constructing Water:


  • A group of artists. Oregon artists, based in the Corvallis, Eugene and Roseburg areas, came together in 2016 to claim agency and circumvent institutional structures that require artists to ask permission. It is a group that fosters creative strength, exchange and exploration.
  • A physical module. The 6’x 6’x 6’ cube, constructed of steel and plexiglas, is a space for art installations. The cube is an adaptable, movable mechanism through which art is presented and perceived. Each artist carefully considers the location of the Gray Space cube as integral to his or her specific work. It offers a unifying set of constraints for the artists and a recognizable form for the audience.
  • A project. Gray Space explores how art influences place and place influences art. The project invites the inclusion of an unforeseen or unexpected audience, broadening definitions of where art can exist. Each installation of Gray Space is created and curated by the individual artist. Locations are mapped and the work is documented on this website.

Blog Posts


I am not drawn to the more contemporary understanding of a muse as a particular person who inspires an artist to create work, almost like a love letter about the one objectified as the muse. I am more interested in the ancient Greek understanding of the muses. They are more like nymphs who could be found in forests and streams. They are capricious beings who have ideas of their own and they are looking for someone to help them manifest those ideas into tangible creations in the world. They are transient collaborators at best.

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In the Studio

I find this to be a hilariously accurate depiction of my time in the studio lately. I spend hours hand cutting Dura-Lar only to find that when I am done for the day, it looks as if nothing has happened. So much occurs behind a closed studio door. Taking...

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Life Size

Kate Ali built a full-scale model of Gray Space. We moved it out of the shop to get a feel of how the scale of the space will work outside. Older Post: Newer Post:

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I remember a conversation, not so long ago, I had with Kathleen Caprario. We both expressed the isolation we were feeling as artists living in Eugene, with its lack of contemporary art venues and support, and how tired we were of feeling so isolated. Since moving here...

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Gray Space

I'm involved with a new collaborative project entitled Gray Space. Gray Space is a collaborative endeavor that explores the idea of site/context. Eight artists will separately install and document the placement of a micro/mobile-gallery called Gray Space in...

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Studio News & Events

So much occurs behind a closed studio door. Taking inspiration from Anne Truitt's Daybook, Studio News will provide you with a glimpse into the art making process. Sign up for an insider look.

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