By Susan Dunne for CTNOW
Water is perceived many ways. It is sustenance. It is symbolic. It nourishes the ecosystem. It is reflective. It is both crystal-clear and full of tiny critters. It has an ever-changing surface. It is dangerous. It can be politicized. It is a factor of everyday life, for those fortunate enough to have easy access to it. For those without easy access, it is more precious than gold.
It makes sense that the new water-themed exhibit at Benton Museum in Storrs is presented by various academic departments at UConn: art, natural resources, environmental engineering, marine sciences, water resources. Each artwork in the show sees water through a different lens, even an abstract lens. Water is also a philosophical concept.
Six oils on canvas by Leif Nilsson of Chester can be seen in a variety of ways. The placid scenes of the Long Island Sound and creeks near the shoreline are pretty. And yet the scenes also have environmental dept.
“The general public will see the beautiful flowers and will appreciate the lighting and the atmosphere, but people who are tied in to the issues that impact the Connecticut River will look at these in a different way,” said Nancy Stula, the Benton’s director, who co-curated the exhibit. “These purple flowers are loose strife, an invasive plant. Those yellow flowers are yellow irises, which are also invasive.”