Columbia College Chicago’s Glass Curtain Gallery Presents 'Waterworld,' March 8-April 21

Leslie Baum, 'shape of the day:e.v,l.h.,' oil and acrylic on canvas, 2017

CHICAGO (March 1, 2018)–Columbia College Chicago’s Department of Exhibitions, Performance, and Student Spaces (DEPS) presents Waterworld: an exhibition of contemporary art that takes water as its source material. Opening at Columbia’s Glass Curtain Gallery on March 8, Waterworld will run through April 21, with a tour and catalog release party on April 12 from 5-7 p.m.

Featuring seven artists and co-curated by Holly and Zachary Cahill, the exhibition explores the role water has played in our speciespast, present, and future, and examines its importance as a biological resource in contrast with its life-threatening role in environmental catastrophes.

This exhibition presents a critical look at the essential role of water environmentally and culturally,” said Meg Duguid, DEPS director of exhibitions. “The exhibition title plays off the 1995 epic film Waterworld. Although widely panned by critics, Waterworld was insightful in its understanding of water as an invaluable resource and in its narrative presentation of a world where the melting of the polar ice caps is complete. The curators in this exhibition have used that film as a reference to consider issues that circulate around the subject of water in 2018.”

The Waterworld exhibition brings together artists examining life on the individual and global stage as it correlates to water: The late Allan Sekula, through his photography, demonstrates that the ocean is still the primary medium of global trade; Leslie Baum re-purposes historical art precedents to achieve novel modalities of abstraction; Drexciya, the Detroit-based techno duo made up by Gerald Donald and the late James Stinson, uses music to tell the story of an alternative Atlantis; Sculptor David Nasca tackles identity fluidity through his immersive installation on deep-sea creatures; Julie Marie Lemon works in the idiom of still-life photography, with each image riding the line between tranquility and chaos; Conceptual artist Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle touches on issues of water and body throughout much of his work, encouraging analysis of water as society sees and utilizes it; South African artist Mohau Modisakeng will present the U.S. premiere of his multi-channel video installation Passage, an elegiac meditation on slavery’s dismemberment of African identity and its enduring erasure of personal histories.

“In 2018, it is nearly impossible to talk about water without having political connotations,” said co-curator Holly Cahill. “Some of the artists in the exhibition have created art works that deal directly with the global conversation around water, scarcity, and climate change. Other exhibiting artists give form to different dimensions of water which relate to the fantastic, the mythical, the historical, and the bodily. We see all of these aspects overlapping in the work that artists are bringing to the exhibition.”

Both curators are Chicago-based artists and members of Tiger Strikes Asteroid Chicago: a network of artist-run exhibition spaces. Zachary currently serves as curator at the University of Chicagos Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry.

March 8-April 21
Glass Curtain Gallery
1104 S. Wabash Ave., 1st floor
Opening Reception
Thursday, March 8
5-7 p.m.


The Department of Exhibitions, Performance, and Student Spaces (DEPS) is the galleries, student centers, and art boutique of Columbia College Chicago. An extension of the studios and classrooms, the department fosters vibrant environments for students to interact, exchange ideas, and view and showcase bodies of work within the larger urban community. The spaces provide students from every discipline myriad opportunities to gain essential, hands-on experience, stimulating artistic expression and professional development through collaboration. For more information, visit

Columbia College Chicago is a private, nonprofit college offering a distinctive curriculum that blends creative and media arts, liberal arts and business for nearly 7,500 students in more than 100 undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Dedicated to academic excellence and long-term career success, Columbia College Chicago creates a dynamic, challenging and collaborative space for students who experience the world through a creative lens. For more information, visit



Danielle Wilcox
Columbia College Chicago