March 6 - April 17, 2020
Reception: March 6 | 5-7 pm
The Davis Gallery at Houghton House
In something worth searching for, Sarita Zaleha explores the intertwined history of oil drilling and mineral springs through the lens of a particular drilling effort in Geneva, NY. In 1885 investors attempted to drill for oil but when water was tapped instead, it became the valued resource and was promoted, sold, and shipped widely. Through a combination of print installation, video projections, and captioned archival materials, this exhibition emphasizes historical connections between oil and water and suggests associations with contemporary tensions between oil (pipelines) and water (watersheds and contamination of drinking water). The project also brings together medical history (19th-century "water cures") with capitalism's role in extracting and selling natural resources. We are grateful to the Geneva Historical Society for supporting the research for the project and loaning archival materials to the exhibition.
Sarita Zaleha is a multidisciplinary artist whose work explores human perception of the environment and our understanding of climate change. She has exhibited her work in the United States as well as internationally, and has received several grants and awards for her work including the Artist Initiative grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board and the Art(ists) on the Verge Fellowship. She currently teaches printmaking and book arts at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Image: Postcard, Original Blue Label Lithia Springs, Geneva, N.Y., early 20th century