Study for Resin Pour (2010) Gerri York
The work, Study for Resin Pour (2010), developed from a series commenting upon the geo-political, environmental, and cultural significance of water. While considering water’s relationship to plastics, the work explores the collaboration of materials, and in the formal sense of distorted plastic bottles, the pieces confront the idea of mutability and transcendence in materials. Specifically, the viewer might process the work Resin Pour as referring back to a physical experience, such as the end point of a performance of water being spilled on the floor, or a passage of time. Three “puddles” of polyester resin sit on a polished concrete floor, their materiality and mutability influenced by their physical relationship to the shine of the concrete, along with the floor’s odd traces and indentions beneath.
In India, all water sources are sacred and rivers are seen as extensions of divine gods. The Ganges and Yamuna rivers, for example, are referred to as Goddesses that cleanse away material impurities. Vandana Shiva, in her book, Water Wars: Privatization, Pollution and Profit, describes many serious water issues and has much to say about the historical erosion of water rights in India. Shiva challenges important theoretical ideas about the environment, agriculture, and sustainability, pointing out that global political conflict in the future over scarce resources is more likely to be about water and the depletion of water sources, than it is about the conflicts surrounding oil.1 She talks about the ancient tradition of setting up free water temples, Jal Mandirs, in public places and how this tradition has been changed by the proliferation in India of Pepsi’s Aquafina water, sold in plastic bottles. This has resulted in a clash of cultures underscoring India’s economic growth, on the one hand, and the diminished Indian cultural tradition of sharing on the other. Denying vast numbers of poor people access to water due to the privatization of their resources is the ecological context of Shiva’s book, “Water Wars,” and surely resonates with a related experience for westerners. There are, as in North America, plastic bottles everywhere.
1. The Globe & Mail Thurs. March 12th 2009. (Environment section) reported that the UN warns of widespread water shortages in its World Water Development Report. ” The demand for finite resources raises the risk of political upheaval and economic stagnation over the next twenty years…” stating that the demand in India is caused by increased population, rising standards of living including meat eating along with the displacement of citizens due to global warming.”