The Art Gallery of Windsor, Ontario presents artist Sandi Wheaton in a solo exhibition entitled Promised Water, Promised Land from March 19 to June 26, 2011. The neglected and protected desert landscapes presents photographic works which speak to California’s largest lake, a sparkling gem in the middle of the desert, and an ecological catastrophe.
After flooding in the 70s dashed the dream of a “desert Riviera”, the water’s pollution and salinity rose to levels that spoiled recreational uses like swimming and fishing. “As a citizen, the more I worked on this project, the more interested I became in its ecological, environmental and social aspects. The Salton Sea is fascinating, but it is moreover quite troubling. Due to the scarcity of fresh water in California, the Salton Sea risks becoming another dry Owens Lake, threatening local air quality and the nearby agricultural industry. This story is important to us all, if only to serve as a grave reminder of the consequences when human intervention in the natural landscape is met with subsequent inaction and irresponsibility.” – Sandi Wheaton
Alongside the Salton Sea images are Wheaton’s photographic memories of her travels through the Joshua Tree National Park. These images provide a stark contrast to the devastation and destruction of the California images, providing a sense of hope and wonder at the majesty of our protected and respected ecosystems.