• Wayne Thiebaud, River Divide, 2007, oil on canvas, 60 x 48 inches. Collection of Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, Missouri,
    Bebe and Crosby Kemper Collection, Partial and Promised Gift of the Enid and Crosby Kemper Foundation, 2011.33.

    Wayne Thiebaud, River Divide, 2007, oil on canvas, 60 x 48 inches. Collection of Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, Missouri,
    Bebe and Crosby Kemper Collection, Partial and Promised Gift of the Enid and Crosby Kemper Foundation, 2011.33.

Water Music

Friday, June 1, 2018 to Sunday, November 18, 2018
Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art

This exhibition of works from the Permanent Collection of Kemper Museum is inspired by the poem “Water Music” by American poet and feminist literary critic Sandra M. Gilbert.

The poem describes qualities of water—clear, shapeless, changing—and its connection to our bodies. Just as the words of Gilbert’s poem elicit water’s connection to people, the paintings on view expand on water’s presence in the landscape.

Both poem and paintings engage perception, particularly how we may see ourselves reflected in the world around us, and how water can be a metaphor for the fluidity of life.
 

WATER MUSIC
I. The Nature of Water

First, the clarity, those
molecules you go through and through,
and through you they go

in the long sift of blood.
And the shine goes through
as if something–you?–believes

in color, something stipulates
now blue, now what’s called
green or black. You think

you might name it landscape,
but it’s that utter
clearness, giving up

all ideas except reflection.
And then the changes, loose
and free to stiff, stiff

and still to shapeless
spirit of shape.
Do you bend today by the stream

that swivels through you?
Does it mark its currents on your skin?
Kneel in the rain and crook your fingers:

look! clear and changing
every minute
asteroids of still or shapeless