Karen Miranda Abel

Vernal Pool

Photo-1-Doug-van-Hemessen-450x600

Photo by Vernal Pool participant Doug van Hemessen (Halifax, Nova Scotia)




Vernal Pool

Visit the project website at www.vernal-pool.tumblr.com

Karen Abel with Jessica Marion Bar
Part of Grow Op: Exploring Landscape + Place
Curated by Landscape Architect Victoria Taylor
Thurs April 24 – Sunday April 27, 2014
Opening Reception Fri April 25 | 7-10pm
Thurs 1-6pm | Fri 11am-10pm | Sat 11am-7pm | Sun 11am-5pm
Gladstone Hotel
1214 Queen St West, Toronto

Referencing the ephemeral wetland ecosystems formed by melting snow and rainwater in springtime, Vernal Pool is an immersive, elemental installation of snowmelt gathered by participants from across Canada and abroad as a form of extrinsic artistic practice about place and precipitation. Like a confluence of spring runoff meandering to common ground, snow samples referencing geographically and perceptively distinct chronicles of one winter condense and meditatively pause at a seasonal meeting place, forming a temporary body of water – a kind of anthropological precipitation garden – in a gallery space.

Following the exhibition, the pool will be restored to the earth through a collective watering of gardens and urban greenspaces. On Sunday, April 27, 3-5pm, we invite visitors to take a jar of snowmelt to water urban gardens in the city.

ABOUT THE PROJECT

Scientists think water came to Earth on a frozen comet, but eventually the world was completely covered in water. Life was created in water…The Earth should not be called ‘Earth’; it should be called ‘Water.’

~ Edward Burtynsky, Canadian Art, Summer 2013

Vernal Pool is an immersive, elemental water installation created as a participatory, contemplative inquiry into our transitory interrelationships with water and place.

From the Latin word vernalis, meaning “of or belonging to spring”, in Ontario a vernal pool is an impermanent freshwater wetland that typically forms in landform depressions each April from snowmelt and rainwater, providing vital natal habitat for amphibians and aquatic insects. The meltwater of spring is the defining event for these evanescent breeding pools, which dry up with the heat of summer until they can be resurrected at the following winter’s end.

Vernal Pool considers the origins of Earth’s water and its infinite migrations through the physical processes of evaporation, condensation, precipitation, infiltration, surface run-off, and subsurface flow. Science suggests that water is as old as the Earth itself – an estimated 4.5 billion years – as virtually no new water has been introduced into the atmosphere since the planet’s earliest beginnings. In this sense, the water we drink is age-old. Continuously in motion, the surface water that humans and all other freshwater-dependant organisms consume every day has been circulated from the land to the sky and back again in the form of rain and snow since the beginning of time.

In observation of this perpetual movement across time and place, and our intersections with water in all its manifestations, a winter-long snow gathering practice undertaken by participants across Canada and abroad will create a reservoir of hand-collected snowmelt.

Like a confluence of spring runoff meandering to common ground, snowmelt samples referencing geographically and perceptively distinct chronicles of one winter will be transposed with the warmth of spring to condense and meditatively pause at a seasonal meeting place, forming a temporary water body – a kind of anthropological precipitation garden – in a gallery space.

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