The Harlow | Kleven Collection is exhibited regularly in the Watermark Art Center with selected prints and ceramics loaned to other public areas on campus and in the community.

Water is Life
EXHIBIT opens May 3, 2024.

Water has been a recurring and multifaceted theme in art throughout history, serving as a source of inspiration, a symbol of life, a reflection of cultural beliefs, and a medium for artistic expression. From ancient civilizations to contemporary art movements, the presence of water in various forms has left an indelible mark on the artistic landscape.

Click on any image in the gallery below to click through larger images

In ancient cultures, water played a vital role in religious and mythological contexts, often depicted in artworks as a symbol of creation, purification, and transformation. 

Contemporary artists continue to engage with water as a subject and medium for artistic experimentation. Environmental concerns, climate change, and the impact of human activities on water ecosystems have inspired artists to address ecological issues through their work. Installations, sculptures, and multimedia pieces constantly explore the fragility of water resources and the urgent need for conservation.

The inclusion of water in art throughout history reflects its diverse roles as a life-sustaining force, a symbol of spirituality, and a muse for creative expression. From ancient civilizations to modern times, artists have drawn inspiration from the ever-changing and transformative nature of water, creating a rich tapestry of visual narratives that resonate across cultures and epochs. 

You may see a reflection of all of these ideas in this exhibition from Bemidji State University’s collection. You may even take a few steps and look to Lake Bemidji as a source of inspiration for your own expression, whether it be art, activities, or conservation efforts.