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Storm Surge by Megan Vossler

Eventually this piece will be installed in the gallery but for now here's the final piece to be enjoyed virtually.


Storm Surge is a reflection on the power of water as both a literal and metaphorical force. Growing up on the California coast, I often observed the ocean during storms, when the water was at its most unsettled. I would watch the surface contort and erupt as I looked for glimpses of what was underneath. Invisible forces surround you in the ocean—from methodical tidal contractions to the most unpredictable, deadly undertow. I’m intrigued by the way the artist Roni Horn has described water as both a noun and a verb: as both an identity in itself, and yet also as something best known in relation to the things with which it interacts. Water connects, transports, carries, submerges and drowns. It cleans, dilutes, and erodes. And as the seas warm and expand, their unpredictability increases. While my work draws heavily upon my own personal history of living near the ocean, it is also informed by the cycle of flooding that impacts Minnesota rivers, which has been increasing in severity and length over the last ten years. 


In this installation, the individual images focus the perspective in and out like a camera lens, and the horizon line shifts in each sheet of paper. When joined together, there is a disorienting sense of space, recalling the feeling of bobbing in a rough sea, the surrounding water lurching, shifting and recombining. This can reflect both a literal, physical experience, and also a more broad sense of upheaval and disorientation. Unable to find solid footing, all we can do at this moment is fall into the turmoil and try to swim.

Megan Vossler received her BA from Brown University, and her MFA from Minneapolis College of Art and Design. Her artwork has been exhibited at museums and galleries around the country, including the Minneapolis Institute of Art and the de Young Museum in San Francisco. Megan’s work has been recognized by some of the most prestigious national arts organizations, including Yaddo, the Jerome and McKnight Foundations, the National Endowment for the Arts (for Ekphrastic 2.0 at SooVAC), and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. She teaches drawing at Macalester College in Saint Paul.

Megan Vossler is a fiscal year 2019 recipient of an Artist Initiative grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation by the Minnesota State Legislature; and by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. 

Storm Surge, 2020. Watercolor, gouache and ink on paper. Each panel 22x30 inches, overall dimensions approximately 95x185 inches.

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