Canal Redirect

Installed from 1991 to 2005


“I built this installation as a direct response to the canal outside my studio, and the industrial nature of the environment in which I had landed after my five years in the Sonoran desert. I was early into the glass, water and light works and was looking intensely at how light and water interacted. I watched and photographed the canal, looking at how the water appeared and changed. I studied it day to day, week to week, season to season, and year to year, and discovered repeating patterns and cycles. Although every time I looked at the water it changed, I began to notice similarities in the colors and textures the movements of the surface each season. The way the angle of the sun, the air and water temperatures, and wind direction changed, affected how the water looked and acted, and after two decades these water actions became markers for the time of year.

This installation was a lens of sorts that helped me watch those actions and patterns. It pumped the canal water directly into the gallery, both magnifying and minaturizing the canal, enabling me to watch more closely, more intimately, the water outside the studio. One of the most significant qualities of the work, and one not anticipated, was the life that was pulled out of the canal and into the channel. Each year a new layer of sand and silt was deposited in the channel, breeding ferns, mosses, algae, and other flora, as well as an occasional snail, insect or minnow. The sculpture had come alive, and it was this condition that nurtured a component of the glass water and light works. The marriage of glass and water allowed a living ecosystem to emerge and it is this relationship between human and nature that most fully embodies the essence of my work: that which can be created and contained, and that which we have no control over. This work was in a state of constant flux manifesting a wide range of conditions. It embodied entropy in visual and experiential ways and was essentially a performative work.

This installation is one of the most quietly revealing works to me, and has influenced me significantly. It was in place for fourteen years.”

David Teeple 2019