All Water Has A Perfect Memory

ART EXHIBIT AT THE RYAN RESILIENCE LAB

View Something Beautiful

The exhibition is available for viewing during our regular business hours, from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, until the end of May 2024. Please call in advance to confirm the Brock River Room is not being utilized for a community meeting to support the mission of the Elizabeth River Project.

Organized in collaboration with Norfolk State University and juried by Barry Art Museum’s Executive Director Charlotte Potter and noted UNC-Chapel Hill environmental lawyer and geographer Danielle Purifoy, the exhibit features work from nine artists selected from across the East Coast. They include Nathan Eliott, a Nottoway-Nansemond Native American with a compelling sculpture about the changing river.

This inaugural exhibit aims to explore the poetics of the river’s return and the resilience of communities in its path. All are welcome to come view these beautiful pieces of environmental art!

Participating Artists

Learn more about the nine artists displaying their work highlighting the beauty, importance and state of the river.

Jillisa Hope Milner

At the Edge of Remembering, 2023

Amanda Thackray

Surface Tension, 2020

Colin Smith

Leptothrix Bacteria at Lost Creek, 2022

Ilana Manolson

Chasing the Change, 2022

Maggie Haslam

River, 2018

Mark Todd

Living (Room) SHoreline

Nathan Elliott

Homecoming, 2023

Sam Hughes

Foggy Morning Tug, 2022

Sandra Snyder

Oyster Life, 2021

At the Edge of Remembering, 2023

Jillisa Hope Milner

For more than two decades, I’ve been a passionate photographer, multimedia creator, nature lover, and conservation advocate. I love experimenting with forms and mediums. From double exposure photographs to mixed media cyanotypes, my aim is to create art that goes beyond mere documentation—I seek to explore themes of impermanence and beauty, to evoke feelings of awe, joy, and love for our uncertain and resilient world. I believe art can inspire people to protect our planet and its web of ecosystems. My work has appeared in numerous solo and juried joint shows, including exhibits celebrating natural resources and their preservation.

Artwork Description

Cyanotypes are a printing process that involves placing objects or photo negatives directly on paper or fabric coated with light-sensitive chemicals. I created these cyanotypes on the banks of the Elizabeth River using a hand-drawn river map and in situ natural elements—leaves, feathers, sand, debris. After exposing, I immersed the prints in the river’s waters to develop them. Thus, the river can remember itself by being physically present in the fibers, textures, and shapes of these images. The sun, water, and natural materials manifest the river’s memory.

 

Through this collection, I delve into themes of the ever-changing nature of water and the impermanence of the natural world. In each composition, I harness the inherently unpredictable qualities of cyanotypes to mirror the fluidity of water and its pathways. I aspire to evoke a sense of reverence for the fragile equilibrium that sustains us all: plant, bird, human, world.

 

$3800 with 30% donated to the Elizabeth River Project

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Surface Tension, 2020

Amanda Thackray

Amanda Thackray is a multidisciplinary ecofeminist artist-educator, based in Newark, NJ, who collaborates with biologists, ethnographers, natural/found fibers, and site-specific water, to create tableaus that inspire environmentally-centered conversations. Thackray’s projects have been exhibited at diverse galleries and museums locally and nationally.

She is the recipient of Creative Catalyst Fund Fellowships (2020, 2021, 2022), Puffin Foundation Grant for Environmental Art (2021), and NJ State Council Individual Artist Fellowship (2022). Residencies include The Arctic Circle, Norway; The Center for Book Arts, NYC; and The Museum of Art and Design, NYC. Her work is in over a dozen international public collections.

Artwork Description

My practice is focused on human connection to waterways. It is primarily foregrounded in traditional and experimental drawing, printmaking, and papermaking processes. Notably, I employ hand papermaking processes to create complex tableaus that visualize water.

 

My focus on handmade paper is centered around the necessary interaction with water through the papermaking process. Water aids in the processes that turn plant material into papermaking fiber, and it is used throughout sheet forming and image creation. I explore ways of highlighting this interaction and showing the traces and visual residue of water that are left behind after it is evaporated.

 

Recently, I have been exploring similarities between woven structures and patterning in water. All four of the artworks submitted are 100% handmade paper, with the exception of #2, which contains a warp of wool thread.

 

Small (approx 9 x 3”) - $60 Medium (approx 15.25 x 5”) - $120 Large (approx 20.5 x 6.25”) - $200 X Large (approx 31.5 x 9.75”) - $350 with 30% donated to the Elizabeth River Project

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Leptothrix Bacteria at Lost Creek, 2022

Colin Smith

Colin Smith is a photographer based out of Baltimore, Maryland. For the past 15 years he has been photographing the effects that the anthracite coal industry has had on central Pennsylvania. This includes, towns shrinking, the industry shrinking and the long term environmental damage. His works from his series Exsanguination and Ghostland have been been selected to show in several galleries around the United States.

Artwork Description

The United Nations has listed acid mine drainage as one of the worlds most concerning problems. Combined with global warming, the problems of acid mine drainage from abandoned mines can compound by flooding into our waterways and even into our homes as what happened to parts of Kentucky with heavy storms in 2022.

 

Three of these are photos of acid mine drainage from abandoned mines that flood into the waterways of Pennsylvania and sometimes end up in major rivers. The other two photos are closeups of the type of bacteria thats can end up in the waterways near abandoned mines.

 

The artwork is to show what the long term effects of coal mining and the horrible impact it can have on our waterways when left untreated. Sometimes, it is deceptive how hauntingly beautiful it can be with it's bright orange and red colors. Or how colorful and ingrained iron or heavy metal eating bacteria can look in waterways.

 

$750 with 100% donated to the Elizabeth River Project

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Chasing the Change, 2022

Ilana Manolson

Ilana Manolson, painter, printmaker and naturalist, is represented by the Jason McCoy Gallery in New York. She exhibited at galleries and museums including Jason McCoy Gallery, Clark Gallery, Danforth Museum of Art, De Cordova Museum, Fuller Museum, Boston Public Library, Endicott College, RISD Museum, and Ballin Castle Museum.

Her work is in the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts (Boston), Berkeley Museum, Danforth Museum, DeCordova Museum, and Boston Public Library. She is a two-time winner of the Massachusetts Cultural Council Artist Fellowship for Painting. Her residencies include Banff Centre for Arts, Mass MOCA, Ballinglen Arts Foundation, and Yaddo Colony.

Artwork Description

My paintings speak to the consistency of change in nature and reflect on the human role in that change. My work relays the fragility of life and celebrates the glory of transition. I strive to make visible the interrelationship between people and the environment, not just in terms of time but also regarding space and causality. This understanding straddles the violence of climate change and the resilience of nature.


My practice is oriented to place and responsive to my environment. I look to water to teach me how to live in right relationship with the world. As water changes, it changes its environment whether through erosion, flooding, nutrition, or drought. What we humans do upstream will affect what happens downstream. Water is constantly creating its own home, carrying with it memories of all that has come to pass along its journey. It is this totality that I seek to paint.

 

$4500 with 25% donated to the Elizabeth River Project

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River, 2018

Maggie Haslam

Maggie Golightly Haslam (b. 1988, Washington DC) has a BFA in studio art from Brigham Young University and an MFA in painting from Pratt Institute in New York City.

\Maggie was awarded residencies in the summer of 2018 and 2019 with Works on Water and Underwater New York on Governor’s Island, in NYC. She used recycled water and other materials to make work focused on waterways and the bidirectional influence these have with the people living nearby.

Most recently she exhibited a piece titled “Birth” from Governor’s Island at the Torpedo Factory in Old Town, Alexandria.

Artwork Description

I made my “River” painting during an artist residency on Governor’s Island, New York. During the residency, I read about the native inhabitants of the area— the Lenape people— and felt very inspired by their love and care for the land, especially compared to its current state. I decided to make artwork that helped revere the natural elements of the earth.

 

For this painting, I laid a large roll of watercolor paper on a sloped area of grass, and allowed my watery paint to flow, mimicking the natural creation, from one end to the other. Before the paint had enough time to dry, it started to rain, which affected portions of the painting. The act of creating this painting was a practice of patience for me as an artist. I had to learn to give something to the earth, and receive something back.

 

$5000 with 30% donated to the Elizabeth River Project

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Living (Room) Shoreline

Mark Todd

I spent a decade working as an art director for ad agencies such as Marcus Advertising in Solon, Ohio and JWT Technology in San Jose, California. Since then I have run my own illustration and design company called MC Todd Design and Illustration based in Norfolk, Virginia.

Artwork Description

Living (Room) Shoreline - 28"x22" - Acrylic paint applied with ink rollers and digital tools.

We have chosen a waterfront community to call home. This area provides us with tools which allow us to live safely and sustainably. The use of soft engineering offers an inexpensive way to make use of our geography by using natural defenses to protect our community and coastline.

 

$500 with 30% donated to the Elizabeth River Projectt

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Homecoming, 2023

Nathan Elliott

My name is Nathan Elliott. I live in the western branch area of Chesapeake. Work for Virginia international terminal. I am a member of a virginia native american recognize tribe. I am descendent from the Nansemond and Nottoway Indian tribes. Both tribes are very environmental conscious dealing keeping the rivers clean. I am a forth generation wood turner and I also make native american wood bowls, flutes and jewelry. Some of my flutes are on permanent display in Jamestown Settlement museum. Some of my wood work and jewelry has been sold at Virginia Fine Arts museum, Colonial Williamsburg, Jamestown Settlement and Jamestown Island. I have performed at the Kennedy center twice playing some of the flutes I made and created a music cd.

Artwork Description

I call my art work home coming because it represent how the environment first started with thriving aquatic life to how man has caused environmental problems that has effected aquatic life with factories that was not environmental friendly. Then it show how these companies can make changes that are more sustainable and environmental safe for the aquatic life to want to come back home where they first started. Adjusting to climate change and being more flexible for what to come in the future dealing with flooding. First it shows Native american acknowledging traditional teaching and restoring cultural stewardship prictice then it shows factories being built next to the water and pollution from it has destroyed rivers and kill the aquatic life near it and last it shows how the aquatic life is beginning to come back because man has started to apply new technology that does not effect the environment and help reduce climate change.

 

This piece touches on adjusting to climate change and being more flexible for what to come in the future dealing with flooding. Beginning with Native Americans acknowledging traditional teaching and restoring cultural stewardship practice, to factories being built next to the water and pollution which has destroyed rivers and killed aquatic life, lastly you can how the aquatic life is beginning to come back because man has started to apply new technology that does not affect the environment and help reduce climate change.

 

$2300 with 50% donated to the Elizabeth River Project

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Foggy Morning Tug, 2022

Sam Hughes

Originally from Laurel, Mississippi, Sam Hughes earned his photojournalism degree in 1987 from the University of Southern Mississippi. After working as a photojournalist for newspapers and magazines throughout the South, he moved to the Pacific Northwest where he continued his photojournalism career. In 2002, he moved to the Coastal Virginia area where he began a successful photography business and teaching as an adjunct photography instructor for Tidewater Community College’s Visual Arts Center. In 2010, Sam began graduate work at Norfolk State University where he earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in Visual Studies. In the fall of 2013, he joined Norfolk State’s faculty and is currently a tenured associate professor, teaching photography in the Division of Fine Arts.

Artwork Description

Images submitted are from a series I've been working on from my boat slip #102 at the Pier Condominiums. This slip is located on the Elizabeth River near Downtown Norfolk. Throughout the year, I set up my camera on the exact location to photograph activity on the water . The series submitted includes three images of ships/boats working the river on a foggy morning. The water images are from different days throughout the year, focusing on how the water changes from day to day. All images have been converted to black and white.

 

$350 with 30% donated to the Elizabeth River Project

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Oyster Life, 2021

Sandra Snyder

I have been a photographer and graphic designer for my entire career. A major part of my work is dedicated to our beautiful local wetlands, home to many wonderful species of flora and fauna.

I want to be part of the movement to bring awareness to the importance of protecting our delicate eco-system. Our waterways are essential to our existence. This community of plants and animals are depending on us to keep them safe.

Each entry is an original Giclee print on canvas finished with a floating frame.

Artwork Description

The images that I have selected for this project are an abstract story of what water memory means to me.

 

They represent my reflection on the importance of bringing awareness to this process.

 

When we come together to right a wrong, we are doing what river waters do naturally. Rivers and wetlands have been correcting themselves since the beginning. Humanity has tried to dictate how that process should be interrupted. A hard lesson is being taught with this ever alarming global crisis. Hopefully, we are learning to use use science and technology to help with that corrective path allowing oysters to grow again and wildlife to thrive again. Thankfully, organizations like the Elizabeth River Project are taking the lead.

 

$750 with 30% donated to the Elizabeth River Project

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Youth Water Monitoring Results

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