Artist Talk at the Fenwick Gallery

Rahshia Sawyer and Sarah Winn talk about their Call and Response piece Siren’s Garden exhibited in the Fenwick Galllery


Siren’s Garden, 2014

190 x 17 inches

Digital photography on silk with text

We sometimes remember the waking up and going to bed, but often these moments become mere bookends to our fluid days. Perhaps because of this, Rahshia (caller) and Sarah (responder) found the words ’24 hours,’ and ‘rise’ most compelling. Through the sequences, Rahshia used the water line to create a horizon, giving a framework to analyze time through a micro lens. The first set of photos was a mix of close-ups and motion-blur taken during the initial underwater session.

The dreaminess of this series prompted Sarah to think about what happens to dreams as they dissipate and change in the light of day. Working with fairy tale elements, she used sounds that evolved from harder/sharper to softer as the metaphoric day progressed. The siren can’t help returning to her own dreams. She is bound to the river the way we are bound to our daily routines, and can’t get her own song out of her head. This brought her story to a more mundane place. She’s both caught in a sort of net, and the net itself.

Because the middle of the poem uses visual images that move the reader away from the watery present, Rahshia chose more abstract images to represent these lines. She let the poem set the tonal coloring of the whole piece, reserving the dusks and red of burnt crops for the tones of the skin. She ordered the photos from concrete to abstract then back to concrete, keeping the motion of the photographs true to the arc of the poem. The work represents of our lives in 12 hour increments, how the motions we go through may repeat but our memories ebb and flow throughout the day, often returning to our dreams. The photographs take the Siren’s perspective as she sings the memory of loss and reclamation.