Anna Daedalus + Kerry Davis
Remote Residency: 2 – 28 August 2021 (The Grays River Valley, Washington, USA)
Oxygen Art Centre is pleased to announce Anna Daedalus and Kerry Davis as Artists-in-Residence throughout the month of August. Daedalus and Davis are a multi-disciplinary, collaborative artist team and cofounders of the former Roll-Up Gallery, an artist-run, contemporary exhibition space in Portland, Oregon.
Updates from their studio will be shared on Oxygen’s website and social media. Following the residency an Artist Monograph will be available in print and online, in addition to an online Artist Talk, which will be held in October 2021. Stay tuned for updates!
Palūs (Latin, “marsh, swamp”) is a meditation on a Sitka spruce swamp along the Grays River, which flows into the Columbia River Estuary 20 miles east of the Pacific Ocean in Southwest Washington State. Having relocated in 2019 from Portland, Oregon to a rural hamlet on the Grays River, the artists are fortunate to live and work next to 55 acres of restored tidal wetland protected by the Columbia Land Trust.
The project observes the swamp’s liquid respiration as the waters rise and fall each day. The multiple mediums and modalities used in the project are intended to reflect the dynamic, multilayered nature of this place. Through constructions, documents, and time-based installations, Palūs bears witness to flowing time and contemplates impermanence, both in process and outcome.
A palustrine evergreen forested tidal swamp ecosystem unique to the Pacific Northwest coastal region, Sitka spruce swamps once dominated the Columbia River Estuary. But in the last 150 years many of these wetlands have been cleared and drained for farms or timber, leaving only about 30 percent of the historic swamps remaining today. Complex, multi-storied, and anchored by large trees, Sitka spruce swamps are critical to the health of the estuary. They support food webs, lower water temperature, capture sediment, sequester carbon, and absorb floodwater.
The swamps also provide rearing habitat for the endangered coho, Chinook, chum, and steelhead–whose runs along the Grays River once were legendary. Since 2000, the Columbia Land Trust has conserved and restored numerous tidal wetlands along the Grays River, allowing the river access to its floodplain and providing habitat for many species of plants and animals.
Information sourced from the websites of the Columbia Land Trust and the Willapa National Wildlife Refuge Complex of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.
Each day Daedelus and Kerry walk along a dike road with pasture on one side and wetland and river on the other. The waters rise and fall, the river runs in reverse, the time of the tide shifts. They observe as swamp vegetation accommodates the flow and settles in sinuous mats with the ebb. An intermittent pond expands with winter rain and, during spring floods, it swells to merge with the swamp’s many watery hollows. The artists admire the swamp from the edges and watch the comings and goings of birds, amphibians, insects and mammals who retreat into its thickets where they cannot follow.
Over the past year the artists have been working with local organic materials and photographic processes to initiate a new body of work about this relatively obscure corner of the natural world. In a continuation of their work with the Columbia River, the artists see the project as a way to situate themselves and their society within a historical and geological context, and deepen their intimacy with this riverine place ruled by tides.
The locale rests on the unceded lands of the The Chinook Nation. What we now call Gray’s River and Wahkiakum County are the ancestral lands of the the five westernmost Tribes of Chinookan peoples: the Lower Chinook, Clatsop, Willapa, Wahkiakum, Kathlamet and many other Tribes who made their homes along the lower Columbia River.
Daedelus and Kerry acknowledge that they are on this land because of the forced removal of its traditional peoples by colonists and settlers. As settlers and/or guests, the artists recognize the strong and diverse Native communities in this region today, from Tribes both local and distant, and offer respect and gratitude for their stewardship of these lands—past, present and future.
Anna Daedalus and Kerry Davis are a married artist team whose multidisciplinary individual and collective work spans photography, installation, assemblage and book arts. Their four major projects have focused on themes of interdependence, environmental crisis and resilience, the Anthropocene epoch, and geologic time. Their work often employs alternative photographic techniques to foreground physical, tactile experience and the ideas of presence and immediacy.
Davis studied photography and filmmaking at Portland State University and Oregon College of Art and Craft. Daedalus earned her BA from Reed College. Their collaborative projects have been supported by grants from the Regional Arts and Culture Council and shown regionally, including Portland State University’s Littman Gallery and Southern Oregon University’s Schneider Museum of Art. Their individual work has been featured in numerous publications and exhibited throughout the Pacific Northwest. Cofounders of Roll-Up Gallery, an erstwhile contemporary exhibition space in Portland, the team lives and works in Southwest Washington State near the mouth of the Columbia River.