Collection: Shannon Dunn - Water Rites
“Water Rites” Artist Statement
My journey as a visual storyteller has led me on a colorful and wandering path. I generally create within the realm of narrative surrealism. However, I don’t confine myself to work within the specific parameters of subject matter, medium or technique. I must respect the creative process and follow where inspiration leads.
In recent years, my artwork has focused on the four elements of life: air, earth, fire and water. My current body of work has evolved from traditional oil painting to mixed media sculpture and has honed in on the element of water. This vital source is woven through the fabric of our human existence and all life depends on it. No water, no life. Water in all its forms; actual and figurative, symbolic and spiritual is an integral part of what it means to be human on earth.
The “Anthropocene” is the current geological age in which we live. It is the period during which human activity has been the dominant influence on the climate and the environment. If this is true, we as human beings have laid claim to our place as the fifth element. My artwork explores the tenuous (im)balance of environmental cause and effect and our great responsibility as nature’s stewards.
This give and take of interacting with the world not only happens around us, but within us. We are a part of nature not apart from it.
Through painting and sculpture, I explore water in all its forms. The natural forms of ecosystems are literally saturated with water: from the flow of our oceans, lakes, and rivers to the moisture within our air and earth, to the frozen landscape of ice and glacier. All of creation is permeated with water.
We too, as humans are part of this fluid ecosystem. The tears from our eyes, salt water in our body, blood through our veins and thirst in our mouth. The birth of creation started within water just as human life forms within the water of our mother’s bodies.
The symbolic and spiritual significance of water is not to be overlooked. We baptize with water. We ritualistically cleanse. We bless with holy water. Water was turned into wine. Water is pure and sacred.
My artwork aims to highlight the fragile beauty of our world and our place within it. Water as a precious gift and resource beckons us to reflect and connect with the natural world around us, each other and with ourselves.