NEW ULM – An exhibition opening Friday at The Grand’s 4 Pillar Gallery will make viewers think of water in a new light.
That “Pity the Water” The exhibition features the photographs and words of artist Kay Herbst Helms, who has focused her career on nature and is a strong advocate of the natural world.
In recent years she has partnered with several organizations to host exhibitions on the importance of water. Helms said she hopes her exhibition will inspire gratitude and action.
Exhibition title: “Pity the Water” comes from a 2007 poem of the same name by Lawrence Ferlinghetti. The poem is a call to action to improve and protect the Earth’s waters.
Helms expands on the poem, combining her photos with additional text about the importance of water.
Nearly every photo in the exhibition is water-related, usually depicting water but occasionally focusing on the devastating effects of its absence.
In her artist statement, Helms said:
“Water is the basis of our existence from our beginning in the watery womb to our end when ice is all we can swallow. All the water we have now is all the water we will ever have. It is imperative that we act now to protect our water and our planet.”
The photos shown in the exhibition were taken over a period of 15 years. Some of the photos were originally used for other exhibits but served the theme of water. Photographic techniques vary from subject to subject.
Helms said she has no particular philosophy about photography. She said each photo was taken from a different angle or distance, depending on what looked best. Others have been cropped to capture the best light.
The locations featured in the photos are primarily in Minnesota, but Helms also traveled to Wisconsin and Illinois.
Helms included the family in her photography. The photos show four different grandchildren and one great-grandson. One of the themes of the exhibition is the importance of preservation for future generations.
The opening reception for “Pity the Water” is Friday, September 23, 6:30 p.m. The exhibition is open until October 21st.