Author: Bergen, Rachel
Date published: February 8, 2010
The murky pool reflects a wan winter sun
CMU prof essor turns a puddle into works of art
A Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) professor inadvertently became an artist when she stumbled across a puddle and saw incredible beauty in it.
The concept of water in its many forms is what Pamela Leach, a political science professor, captures in her digital photographic series on metallic paper, "Ruskin's Pool."
The series, interspersed with Leach's own poetry, was made public at the Mennonite Heritage Centre Gallery, located on the CMU campus, on Jan. 22.
Leach had always been an artistic person, but says she truly got involved in photography "by accident because [she] got obsessed with a puddle" located in Peanut Park in the Crescentwood area of Winnipeg.
To Leach, this "accident" turned out to be more of a "serendipitous spirit moving" that allowed her to be used as a vessel of the Holy Spirit for her own spiritual wellbeing and for that of others. She says the photos affect her profoundly because "visual images speak past word space into a more spiritual realm."
A theme she hopes her art will convey is that the beauty in the world "shows that love can extend to all, even when we least perceive it."
Although most of Leach's pieces document the natural changes that the puddle underwent over the course of a few weeks in 2008, some of the works document unnatural changes, including litter and water pollution.
That's why she named her series "Ruskin's PooL" In the 19th century, John Ruskin was the leader of the Arts and Crafts Movement as well as an outspoken critic of environmental degradation, especially water pollution.
"Ruskin called for a new relationship between the land and its people - he observed that we have been blinded to the full costs of our greed," Leach said in the gallery's newsletter.
Also appearing in the Mennonite Heritage Centre Gallery- following the same theme of water- is the photography of Sam Baardman with his series, "Water's Edge."
The exhibits run until March 6.
By RACHEL BERGEN