Framing Water


Other site-relative installations


“The framing of the water in the glass, light, water series embodies an embracing of opposites. The frame is essential. The glass construction, the framing device that holds the water, is the only way to see the water up close and in section. I am isolating the water from a larger body, the river that it rests on for instance. By pulling out a portion of the amorphous water and pouring it into the glass structure, the frame, I am able to see certain qualities of the water itself such as its translucency and refractive characteristics.”


"In an ongoing series of environmental installations, I have placed water-filled glass tanks in various contexts: for instance, on a river where the tanks appear to be floating on the surface. Utilizing Snell’s law of refraction, the works challenge the relationship between perception and interpretation and how we interact with place. Part ritual, part experiment, part conceptual and aesthetic art action, the installations absorb and reconfigure both the surrounding imagery and the structure of the sculpture itself, creating visual phenomena that extend beyond the parameters of water, glass and light."



The Container Frames

“From a distance, the combination of glass and water suspended on a body of water acts as a prism of sorts, illuminating the water, setting it apart from the river or pond. This compartmentalizing of something so vast and elusive intrigues me - I can see the water, finally; not just its surface, which is usually how we see water. The surface of the water inside the tank takes on the surface of the surrounding water, and the two, the tank and the river, begin to merge. But only so far - the structure of the installation pushes itself back away from the river. There is a fluidity in this push-pull and the installation always remains separate, although it seems to want to merge completely. As we look at it from a structural view, and taking into account the effects of the Snell-Descartes Law of Refraction, where two dissimilar isotropic materials in close proximity change the refractive index, bending the light and causing optical anomalies, the tank becomes a constantly shifting geometrical field causing the installation to take on a varied range of optical and geometric shapes. But the changing shapes are internal and don’t actually exist. It is an illusion. These interior forms that reflect the materials also reflect and mirror the visual elements of the surrounding environment: the river, the trees, the sky; or if installed inside a building: the walls, floor and ceiling, and any objects in the space. The water, glass, and light combination is collecting, reconfiguring, and reflecting back all of the visual information in the environment. It is an ever-shifting cataloguing of sorts, by virtue of the structure and fluidity of its system.”


David Teeple 2019