The Antarctic Sublime & Elements of Nature: Water

By: Cari Zahn – A&E Editor

We may be back in school, but summer isn’t over yet, and the sometimes-sweltering temperatures are a far from gentle reminder of that. Fortunately, a refreshing, icy experience is only a few minutes away from UD’s campus.

The Dayton Art Institute’s second installment of their “elements” series is currently on display, this time highlighting water. “The Antarctic Sublime & Elements of Nature: Water” features three different displays of water in its many forms.

Visitors are first welcomed into the exhibit by 450 small, mechanical penguins that mirror movements of onlookers, a reminder of the works from DAI’s first element-installment, “Into the Ether,” which featured light. The penguins, though somewhat gimmicky, won’t let visitors leave without smiles on their faces. They provide that interactive piece that visitors craved after playing with lights and becoming part of the art themselves in the last exhibit.

The next water-work, a huge photograph of the Los Glaciares National Park in Patagonia, Argentina, will definitely induce chills – though it’s hard to say whether the cause is the giant glacial formations or the sheer beauty and clarity of the photo. The photograph seeks to help visitors contemplate nature as vast and mighty, while man is so incredibly flawed, fragile and human.

The very last part of the summer exhibition is arguably the most stunning. A mesmerizing video projection of a waterfall, stretching 10-feet tall, which leaves viewers in awe. Titled “Universe of Water Particles,” the gorgeous and detailed animation creates an overwhelming sense of peace – and a little chilly.

Overall, these three works of art make the visit worthwhile. Though a small exhibit, it does not lack substance, and is a perfect way to cool off and de-stress through these last moments of an indian summer.

The Antarctic Sublime & Elements of Nature: Water is on view at the Dayton Art Institute through October 16. Admission for students (18+ w/ ID) is $11.

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