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Thorne Exhibit Focuses on Water Conservation

British Virgin Islands Waters, a photograph by Marjorie Ryerson, shows the beauty of water to emphasize its importance to humanity
British Virgin Islands Waters, a photograph by Marjorie Ryerson, shows the beauty of water to emphasize its importance to humanity

KEENE, N.H., 8/5/09 - The importance of water and water conservation will be the focus of one of two exhibits opening this fall at the Thorne-Sagendorph Art Gallery at Keene State College. Downstream: Current Works on Water by Six Artists - Christine Destrempes, Janet Fredericks, Amy Jenkins, Mary Lang, Nathalie Miebach, and Marjorie Ryerson - shows how water is used as inspiration and metaphor in a variety of innovative media to address the importance of clean drinking water to everyone on earth.

A public reception for Downstream and another exhibit, Migrations: New Directions in Native American Art will take place Friday, September 11, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Thorne Gallery. Both exhibits will be open from September 12 to November 24.

Christine Destrempes, who is co-curating the Downstream exhibit with Thorne Director Maureen Ahern, created the installation, 13,699, which consists of water bottle caps hanging from a metal frame into which people can walk. The bottle caps represent the people who die every day from water-related diseases because they do not have access to clean water.

“Being enveloped by so many bottle caps evokes a visceral experience of the magnitude of this humanitarian crisis,” said Destrempes.

In addition to this installation, the five other artists approach the subject of water in ways as varied as the substance itself. The thoughtful work of these artists will inspire a renewed understanding of and gratitude for water

  • a simple compound that is essential to life and a profound subject from which to draw a deeper understanding of the human experience, said Destrempes.

Janet Fredericks perceives water as the amplifier of intuition. She has a five-minute video of herself drawing water reflections in a stream on paper that is submerged under the water. That paper is dried and then further enhanced with paint and used to create an installation that hangs from the ceiling and cascades to the floor.

Amy Jenkins’ video installation, Safe Passage (From the Same Water), deals with the origins of life and the passage to death. Images of floating figures are projected through a transparent oval suspended in the darkened space. This will be the inaugural exhibition of Safe Passage (From the Same Water).

With her large-scale photographs, Mary Lang draws a parallel between the nature of mind and the surface of water. Her exploration of water as an artist has been inseparable from her journey as a Buddhist practitioner.

Nathalie Miebach’s sculpture, Warm Winter, visually articulates scientific observations and theories using basket weaving to interpret data in a three- dimensional space.

Marjorie Ryerson founded and directs the non-profit organization, Water Music, which uses interdisciplinary fields to help protect water worldwide. Her book, Water Music, combines her photographs with writings and sheet music composed by musicians throughout the world. Her color photographs of water will also be displayed.

The Downstream exhibit will be the focus of the Friends of the Thorne’s annual education program for area school children, scheduled for October 19-30. To schedule a group tour during this time, contact Sally Urso-Profera by phone at 603-358-2719 or by e-mail:

Exhibited in the same gallery as Downstream will be Migrations: New Directions in Native American Art. The Migrations project was developed to identify and showcase emerging Native American artists working with a contemporary vocabulary.

Reopening September 12-27 will be the summer exhibit Keene State College - Celebrating Our Centennial 1909-2009: 100 Years of Academic Community, and Photographs by Andy Warhol and Other Gifts to KSC.

The gallery is open from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday through Wednesday, and noon to 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday. It will be closed Wednesday, November 11, for Veterans Day. The exhibits and reception are free and open to the public. Located on Wyman Way on the Keene State campus, the Thorne Gallery is accessible to people with disabilities. To request accommodations for a disability, please call the Thorne Gallery at least two weeks before your visit. For more information, call 603-358-2720 or visit

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