Influential Elements

Last week-end we flew in the middle of a rainstorm and amidst tornado warnings to Long Beach to attend a birthday party.  There seems to be something in the collective unconscious about water.  Coming off the heels of the tsunami in Japan, not only was it raining and storming with gale force winds – an unusual occurence in Southern California -but there was an exhibit at the Long Beach Museum of Art entitled “Influential Element:  Exploring the Impact of Water.”

I’ve been slow to post after the disasters in Japan, not really wanting to say much of anything at the risk of feeling and sounding contrite.  It felt appropriate to pause and let some time pass.  Let what has happened sink in some.  Then, on a trip to the museum to enjoy a few hours of leisure before our return flight – there it was:  an entire exhibit dedicated to the impact of water.  Josine Ianco-Starrels, the former LBMA curator said, “The presence of water, which sustains our way of life, is both precious and precarious.”  

Having grown up in Long Beach, within walking distance to the Pacific Ocean, I remember most days taking in the salty air and telling direction by which way the beach was.  The ocean had a  constant pull on our lives, as most summer days were spent on beaches from Long Beach to Laguna.  We went water-skiing in the Colorado Lagoon, frolicking in and around Alamitos Bay, and cavorting with relatives to Catalina Island on the glass-bottom boat.   Water was everywhere.  And, it’s influential elements must have entered my subconscious.  I have been known to have vivid dreams about tsunamis -perhaps influenced by the periodic tsunami warning drills that rang throughout our town. 

Eric Zener, one of the talented artists exhibited at the current show at the LB Museum of Art (which incidentally has some of the best views of the ocean in town), says of water, “I use our relationship with water, nature and each other as a metaphor for transformation, refuge and renewal.”  Once more, I am thinking about our brothers and sisters in Japan and hope that their transformation and renewal comes swiftly and that they are able to seek refuge and comfort in each other’s indomitable spirit.  One of these days I’ll get back to the matter at hand, but for now it feels important to honor the impact of water. 

Long Beach Museum of Art
2300 East Ocean Boulevard
Long Beach, CA  90803
(562) 439-2110
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