By Candice L. Cravins
Photographer Deborah Hughes will be displaying her solo exhibition, “Footprints of Water: Photographs and Artistic Expressions of Water’s Wanderings Around the Colorado Plateau,” at the John Wesley Powell River History Museum in Green River from Jan. 10 through June 11, 2022.
“Footprints of Water” exposes and frames the infinite signatures water leaves in its travels through the desert landscape. Mud, ice, clouds, river rapids, decomposing leaves in a stream and even condensation trickling down a window at sunrise become the focus of attention through Hughes’ lens.
“I’ve shifted my attraction away from red rock canyons and mesa vistas during my 26 years of living in southeast Utah,” said Deborah. “Though geologic formations color and characterize the Colorado Plateau, I’ve come to feel that water is the main character, both in its excess as it carves and carries away the landscape, and in its dearth as its absence parches and sharpens the senses like only loss can.”
Deborah wanders the topographically diverse canyons, washes and river corridors in search of sometimes the too much and at other times not enough water. Through abstract compositions and impressionist movement techniques she’s dubbed “camera dowsing,” she captures what catches her aqueous humor. Deborah’s photographic art invites the viewer into a more intimate and visceral experience of water’s traverses.
“For me, water is more than a rationed resource. Water is who we are and how we move. It commutes to work and back to the beat of our hearts and ferries the chemicals that open and close our minds. The essence of our very lives are a flash flood of wet kisses,” she said.
Deborah prints her own work except for images printed on metal. She has recently taken up pen and ink drawing using rock art and aboriginal painting styles to explore visions of water’s tracks beyond the camera’s lens.
“We are so excited to announce the opening of this exhibition,” said Candice Cravins, the museum’s executive director. “Deborah has regularly contributed her beautiful work to our annual Canyon River Runners Art Show, and we are thrilled to collaborate with her to showcase even more of her pieces.”
The museum regularly works with regional artists to host temporary exhibitions showcasing the landscapes of the Colorado Plateau. These temporary exhibitions complement the museum’s permanent displays and give artists the chance to showcase their work in a venue that sees approximately 18,000 visitors per year.
Entrance to the exhibition is included with regular admission to the museum. The museum is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.