Esmeralda Ruiz, Delta Project 2011

March 1-29, 2012

Delta Center for the Arts
Stockton, California

Opening Reception March 1st, 5-7pm

Panel Discussion March 8th, 11am-1pm
Tillie Lewis Theatre l Free & Open to the Public

Linda Gass (fiber)

Cynthia Hooper (video installation)

Kimberlee Koym-Murteira (multi-media installation)

Basia Irland (sound)

Esmeralda Ruiz (photography)

Tao Urban (wall sculpture)

Jane Wolff (illustrations and playing cards from Delta Primer: A field guide to the California Delta)

OPEN Restaurant (tap water tasting)

Delta Waters is a contemporary art exhibition that will explore environmental issues related to the San Joaquin Delta waterways. It comprises eight site-specific artworks
that are uniquely educational in a diverse range of mediums. While focusing on human impacts in the Delta region, as well as its beauty and the preservation of this highly impinged natural resource and its habitats, the artworks are meant to build cultural ties with the community of Stockton who are living at the edges of the largest estuary on the Pacific Coast in California.
Linda Gass

Artist Statement

This artwork is part of my latest series of work about confluences of bodies of water that no longer exist due to human intervention. Depicted here is the confluence of the San Joaquin and Merced rivers paired with a species endangered by the disappearing confluence, Chinook salmon. The largest river in Central California, the San Joaquin, has been heavily dammed and diverted for agriculture. Before the 1940s, the river supported spring and fall runs of Chinook salmon that numbered over 300,000 fish. That all changed with the completion of the Friant Dam in 1942. Diversions of water into the Friant-Kern Canal left little more than a trickle below the dam in most years, drying up the San Joaquin before it reached its confluence with the Merced. By the 1950s, the count of Chinook salmon was zero.

There is now an effort underway to restore the river and the Chinook salmon runs. In 1988, 13 plaintiffs filed a lawsuit and successfully proved that the Friant dam’s diversion of water from the San Joaquin violated the Endangered Species Act and California’s public trust policies. Farmers fought the suit for 18 years and eventually a settlement was reached in 2006, requiring the flow of the river to be restored and salmon to be reintroduced by the end of 2012.

Linda Gass makes art informed by the wilderness, maps, aerial photography and her activist passions. Her most recent work explores land use and water issues by portraying aerial views of the human marks on our landscape that affect our water in some way. She extensively researches the history and practice of water management to inform her art. Her work is made by painting on silk and then stitching it, using beauty to encourage people to look at the hard issues we face. Textiles have been an important part of Linda's life since her grandmother taught her to sew and embroider as a child. In her early adult years, she took a detour through technology after graduating from Stanford University with a BS in Mathematics and an MS in Computer Science and worked in the software industry for 10 years. She travels extensively in the wilderness areas of the West where she finds much of the inspiration for her work. Linda is an artist in residence in the Palo Alto Cubberley Artist Studio program and is a master member of the Baulines Craft Guild. She currently serves on the advisory board of the Black Rock Arts Foundation and has served on the boards of the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles and the Textile Arts Council of the de Young Museum in San Francisco.

Cynthia Hooper

Art Statement: My videos, paintings, and interdisciplinary projects investigate landscapes transfigured by social and environmental contingency. My work is meditative and poetic, but also takes a generously observational and generally factual approach toward the places I examine. I’ve worked with Tijuana’s complex urban environment and infrastructure, as well as contested and politicized water issues along the U.S./Mexico border. I’ve also made a variety of videos about water and land use issues in California and Ohio, including projects about the Klamath and the Cuyahoga rivers. In my work, the perceptual and the political interests me in equal measure. My investigations are disciplined, graceful, and temperately activist.

Description of included work: Westlands is a two-channel video installation that is 6.5 minutes in duration. The Westlands water district in California's San Joaquin Valley is undisputedly the largest and most powerful in the nation. This agricultural district's outsized and highly mechanized operations grow billions of pounds of tomatoes, almonds, pistachios, wheat and cotton for the global market each year. Because of the vast quantities of water needed to grow these crops, Westlands has long exerted an outsized influence on the politics and the shifting environmental dynamics of the Sacramento/San Joaquin Bay Delta to its north. Despite the longstanding environmental problems associated with Westlands’ vast and complex irrigation regimen, the sweeping panoramas that define this site as a phenomenological experience often complicate predictable assumptions about it. The subtle and grandiose visual metaphors found here possess undeniable political agency, but also a capacious poetry as well.

Cynthia Hooper's recent exhibits include the Center for Land Use Interpretation in Los Angeles, the Museum of Modern Art in Mexico City, The Centro Cultural Tijuana, Intersection for the Arts in San Francisco, and MASS MoCA. Cynthia has also been awarded residencies at the Headlands Center for the Arts and the Djerassi Resident Artists Program, as well as a Gunk Foundation grant.
Kimberlee Koym-Murteira

Shadows of the Delta
a modern interactive shadowplay highlighting the problems of the San Joaquin Delta
Artist Statement
I collect materials around the house, Ziploc bags, cereal bag liners, plastic bottles and glass jars. I fill these containers with various liquids that bubble, ooze and/or stagnate.  Using my video camera and projector, I coax these everyday objects to become something more, heightening their dimension into the realm of fairytale. I began this process by projecting video through a plastic bottle filled with water.  Moving the bottle around I enlarged and distorted the image sending fragments of the imagery and shimmers of water rippling around the room. I find myself continually drawn back to this action, repeating this experiment in various formats, using anything from baby food jars to cereal bags, and resulting in small objects and full-scale installations.
For the Delta Waters show, I hand this process of creation over to the gallery visitor, inviting them to create their own shadowplay. I invite viewers to play with controlling light and shadows by holding household objects in front of a video projector showing documentary style footage of the Delta. As I ask gallery goers to physically enter the work and become an active controller of the image shown, I hope that they also carefully consider the story unfolding in front of them and their role in the larger dialogue of water issues. 

Fascinated by the exchange of energy and toxic substances people share with each other and the world around them, Kimberlee Koym-Murteira explores the permeability of physical and psychological boundaries—with a focus on resiliency and translucency. She reflects on how technology intersects our lives and the pace of society imprints a toll on individuals. Her installations are composed of interactive machines, kinetic sculptures, videos and studies of natural phenomena, enticing the viewer to rethink ideas of the home, reuse, toxicity, availability, activity, and beauty. 

Originally from San Antonio,Texas, Koym-Murteira now lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. In Northern California, she has shown her work at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Mission 17, and Sonoma State University, the Invisible Venue, and The Lab. In Europe, her work has been shown in Portugal, France, Germany, and Bosnia. She earned her MFA in Art from Mills College and holds a MA in Scenography from Central St. Martins College of Art & Design, London. She is currently teaching at Diablo Valley College.

Basia Irland

“Clandestine Calaveras” is a boxed set of nine postcard images of the Calaveras River overlaid with molecular structures and gas chromatography/mass spectrometer chromatograms of the chemical pesticides found in the river. A compact disk is part of this set for which she commissioned a musical score by Andrew Ardizzoia, played by cellist Scott Halligan, and sung by mezzo-soprano Laurelle Mathison. During her stay in Stockton, she would canoe each morning at dawn along the Calaveras with Kari Burr, an aquatic biologist monitoring water quality for Delta Keepers. The words featured on the CD are the names of the pesticides identified – chlorpyrifos, dichlorodiphenyldichloroethane (DDT), diazinon, malathion, methyl parathion, pendimethalin, prometon, and dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (DDE).

This work was originally produced for “Aquatopia: A Confluence of Art, Science and the California Watershed,” while Irland was artist-in-residence at the University of the Pacific, Stockton, California, 2004.

Basia Irland is an author, poet, sculptor, installation artist, and activist who creates international water projects featured in her book, Water Library, University of New Mexico Press, 2007. The book focuses on projects the artist has created over the last thirty years in Africa, Canada, Europe, South America, Southeast Asia, and the United States. Through her work, Irland offers a creative understanding of water while examining how communities of people, plants, and animals rely on this vital element. She is Professor Emerita, Department of Art and Art History, University of New Mexico, where she established the Arts and Ecology Program. Irland often works with scholars from diverse disciplines building rainwater harvesting systems; connecting communities and fostering dialogue along the entire length of rivers; filming and producing water documentaries; and creating waterborne disease projects around the world, most recently in Egypt, Ethiopia, India, and Nepal. 

Tao Urban

San Pablo (waterbar 2) was originally created from Tao Urban's Source, Resource installation at Acuna-Hansen Gallery in 2003. It is a wooden hand-built wall mounted refrigeration unit, and for Delta Waters contains water gathered from the headwaters of the San Joaquin River. The shape of “San Pablo" is based on the shape of the San Pablo Bay and the coloration is based on diagrams of how water temperature is distributed within that body of water. The San Pablo Bay can be considered the terminus of the San Joaquin River. Urban's travels gathering waters from the delta headwaters by boat, canoe and foot early 2012 will be presented as journal entries in a similar style to Meriwether Lewis and William Clark on their expedition through the Northwest passage. They can also been seen on his blog HERE.

Tao Urban received his B.F.A. in Painting from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1993 and his M.F.A. from the Cranbrook Academy of Art in 2000. He has had solo exhibitions at the Swarm Gallery in Oakland, CA, the Big Biscuit Gallery in Detroit, MI and the Acuna-Hansen Gallery in Los Angeles, CA. Urban’s work has been included in group shows across the United States, including; Midway Contemporary – Minneapolis MN, Austin Design Center - Austin TX, New Langton Arts - San Francisco CA, High Desert Test Sites 2 - Joshua Tree CA and the Torrance Museum of Art – Torrance CA. He has lectured and been a visiting artist at a number of institutions including Carnegie Mellon University, Southern California Institute of Architecture and the Cranbrook Academy of Art and currently teaches in the Integrated Learning department at the Otis College of Art and Design. Urban lives and works in Los Angeles.
Jane Wolff
Delta Primer 

Jane Wolff is the author of Delta Primer: a field guide to the California Delta, a book and deck of cards designed to educate diverse audiences about the contested landscape of the California Delta. The Delta Waters exhibit will present fifty-four illustrations and accompanying maps from her book, along with the deck of cards.

Jane Wolff is Associate Professor and Director for the Master of Landscape Architecture Program at the University of Toronto. Prior to this, she was an assistant professor at the Graduate School of Architecture and Urban Design at Washington University in Saint Louis. She studied landscape architecture and documentary filmmaking at Harvard. Before she began her academic career, she worked as a designer in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her project experience ranged from private gardens to urban design guidelines for the Main Post of the Presidio of San Francisco. She has taught at the California College of Arts and Crafts and at Ohio State University's Knowlton School of Architecture.  In 2006 she was the Beatrix Farrand Distinguished Visiting Professor in the Department of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning, University of California, Berkeley.
OPENwater: Tap Water Tasting

OPENrestaurant is the project of a collective of restaurant professionals who moved their environment to an art space as a way to experiment with the language of their daily activities. This displacement turns the restaurant, its codes and architecture, into a medium for artistic expression which is made available to cooks, farmers, artists, educators and activists as a way to explore issues around food and society. Two of the groups regular collaborators, Valerie Imus and Travis McFlynn, will present tap water tasting in clay pipe cisterns appropriated from four municipal water pipe systems. Tags identifying the origin of water and a water system map will be displayed.
Curator: founder and west coast curator of ecoartspace

Patricia Watts has researched art and nature practitioners since 1994. She has participated as panelist at numerous conferences and has given lectures at art departments internationally. Watts most recently curated MAKE:CRAFT at Otis College of Art and Design (2010) in Los Angeles, Ecoarchive at 5M in San Francisco (2010), and ECOLOGIC at Cypress College (2009) in Southern California. She also curated Hybrid Fields at the Sonoma County Museum (2006) in Santa Rosa, and Bug-Eyed: Art, Culture, Insects for the Turtle Bay Exploration Park (2004-2005) in Redding, CA, and produced a site-specific temporary public art installation entitled Windsock Currents (2005) on Crissy Field in the Presidio (San Francisco) for UN World Environment Day. Watts was Chief Curator at the Sonoma County Museum in Santa Rosa, CA (2005-2008). She received her MA in Exhibition Design/Museum Studies from California State University, Fullerton, and has a BA in Business Administration from Stephens College, Missouri.