Crossing Prairie Watercourses: Horsehills Creek, Mill Creek, Blackmud Creek, Whitemud Creek, and the North Saskatchewan River, Edmonton 2001

Commissioned by the Edmonton Art Gallery for the exhibition River City.
medium: photo-installation of 5 black & white translucent photographs mounted on plexiglas panels
dimensions: photographs: each 45 inches high x 30 inches wide (114 x 76 cm);
plexiglass panels: each 78 inches high x 48 inches wide (198 x 122 cm).
installed dimensions: 28 feet long x 78 inches high x 16½ inches space from wall at bottom (8.5 m x 198 cm x 42 cm).
collection: Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton.

This artwork presents five translucent photographs of water — four tributaries of the North Saskatchewan River and the river itself — taken looking upstream. Some of the water in the photographs is frozen because I was in Edmonton in April when parts of certain watercourses had not yet become meltwater.

Life on the prairies, as everywhere, is aligned to water. The City of Edmonton developed where it is because of the North Saskatchewan River, which was used as a transportation route by early traders and settlers who gathered along the riverfront here. Living beside water, people have to find ways to cross it. This artwork is about some of the crossing places that have been established over prairie waterways within Edmonton's municipal boundaries. In other words, it is about bridges, although the bridges themselves are not evident in the work. The bridges provided me with a vantage point to photograph the water from above. This may convey an unearthly, transcendent point of view in the photographs, but what I experienced crossing these five watercourses was vivid, embodied, and palpable.

Marlene Creates, 2001