“As the Brandywine River Museum of Art’s first artist-in-residence, and in a continuing program of collaboration examining the intersection between art and nature, Brooklyn-based artist Dylan Gauthier has been commissioned to embark on a year-long environmental art project that will trace the Brandywine River from its headwaters in Honey Brook Township, to its mouth at the convergence of the Brandywine and Christina rivers in Wilmington–water which eventually flows into the Delaware River. From June 2016 until July 2017 Gauthier will be embedded in the Brandywine Conservancy & Museum of Art’s staff, fostering a dialogue between the Conservancy’s acclaimed group of riparian restoration, mapping and easement experts and the museum’s curators and educators. Gauthier will serve as a catalyst between these two distinct fields combined within the Brandywine’s dual missions.
The artist’s project, highwatermarks: six ways of sensing the river, engages with the Brandywine as a public waterway and investigates the relationships between image and landscape, policy and ecology, community and conservation, and culture in the Brandywine Watershed. The project springs from the fact that the Brandywine connects diverse communities that rely on the river for drinking water, irrigation and recreation. highwatermarks performs as a micro-level investigation of macro issues effecting rivers and streams throughout the world, while responsively to the specifics of this river itself, and evolving in shape over the artist’s year-long collaboration with the Brandywine Conservancy & Museum of Art.
Gauthier’s residency will be divided into six modules, each focused around a specific theme and mode of sensing: drifting, observing, gathering, charting, sensing and distributing. These modes transition from states of direct communication between the artist and the landscape to more abstracted and even virtual forms of interaction with the river and its surrounding communities.
As the writer Henry Seidel Canby noted of the river, the Brandywine “is not one stream, it is two—plus an estuary…the valley is not one valley, but several.” Gauthier’s art will address the multiple layers, uses, stakeholders and visions for the Brandywine Watershed, explore its history as a seat of early American industrial power generated by the hundreds of mills that once lined its banks, and register the ongoing conservation and protection efforts in the region centered around easements and land management.”
More to come…