Marie Lorenz: Waterways

April-May 2019

Waterways presents the work of Marie Lorenz, a multimedia artist who investigates bodies of water as surprising public spaces. For twenty years, Lorenz has been building boats for adventures into urban and industrialized landscapes. Best known for her seminal Tide and Current Taxi project, in which she ferries passengers on waters in and surrounding New York City, Lorenz also has explored territory including the Colorado River in Texas, the Tiber River in Rome, the Kern River in California, and the Erie Canal. 

Trained as a sculptor and printmaker, Lorenz builds her boats by hand from wood and fiberglass and sometimes covers them with silkscreened patterns. Narrative is central to her practice—she records her journeys with video, photography, writing and blogging. From her perspective afloat, Lorenz cultivates new views through a process she describes as “setting up parameters and letting nature take over.” Her travels are shaped by the elements, the built landscape, the people she meets, and the situations she encounters.

Waterways has three components that, combined, reflect the sensibility of Lorenz’s process as time-based, mobile, and collaborative. Videos—the first complete display of the artist’s work in this medium to date—document perilous and serendipitous events, such as a capsizing, and strange and durational feats, such as rowing home from John F. Kennedy Airport to the Brooklyn neighborhood of Bushwick. Boats, simultaneously sculptural and utilitarian, are objects of beauty and vehicles for past and future trips: one boat, displayed by the gallery entrance, features in the JFK video; another, suspended by the corner window, will carry Lorenz on her next outing, in June 2019, down the Hoosic and Hudson rivers. 

The final component is the cascading table on which Lorenz has mapped the water trail from North Bennington to Lower Manhattan. During the exhibition, Lorenz will work with Bennington students to research the area where the Hoosic and Hudson meet, part of preparations for her summer trip. Their focus will be on “ground truthing,” or examining the difference between studying a space remotely and experiencing it in person. The map table is both a meeting place for discussion and a site for collecting evidence of the group’s discoveries.

boat suspended in the entryway to the gallery with sign for show
show interior with boat and table
tables displaying detritus Marie has found on her trips
map of the area she traveled overlaid with the junk she found
map of the area she traveled overlaid with the junk she found
map of the area she traveled overlaid with the junk she found
map of the area she traveled overlaid with the detritus she found
gallery interior, long view of table with map and detritus
a suspended boat
video still of marie in boat from one of her trips
two suspended boats and a display table, from a distance