Bryce Lankard will give an Artist's Talk on his multi-year documentary project, "Drawn to Water" This is the debut exhibition of this project, which was featured in the summer issue of the Southern Cultures quarterly journal of the Center for the Study of the American South at the University of North Carolina.
Drawn to water:
Water calls to us as human beings, perhaps because we are mostly made up of the stuff. It shapes the land and makes life livable. We are drawn to water for many reasons: for our health and survival, for spiritual rites and rituals, for athletic endeavors, and often for the pure pleasure of social engagement. Water cleanses and invigorates. In the heat of a southern summer it cools us and acts as a social focal point. Water attracts every race and social strata. We come to it alone and in pairs, in families and groups. It can be a place of isolation and lone meditation or a location where one lets down one’s guard, along with much clothing, and rubs shoulders with complete strangers. Water motivates us to dare and it will cushion our fall.
Having spent 30 years away from my native state, I returned to North Carolina in 2012 with an idea to rediscover this beloved place with fresh eyes. I found myself drawn to the old landmarks that have remained the bookmarks of my memory and discovered that a common thread among them was water. My youthful fantasies were of Huck Finn floating down the Mississippi and my realities were tubing down mountain streams in water so cold it turned your lips blue. I did build a raft once…it sunk. Water flows down out of the Blue Ridge mountains and finds it way to the Atlantic ocean. It meanders its way across my southern landscape. Undeniably, water stands at the center of myriad political and environmental debates, however my interest in these images is to examine the social significance of water in our lives. I want to examine how water acts as the connective tissue in the social fabric of life. These photographs capture the variety of human interaction found around beaches, lakes and quarries, along rivers, waterfalls and swimming holes. -Bryce Lankard