Connected by Water: The Confluence of Self and Place


Bass, Kaleb G.. (2020-05). Connected by Water: The Confluence of Self and Place. Theses and Dissertations Collection, University of Idaho Library Digital Collections.

Connected by Water: The Confluence of Self and Place
Bass, Kaleb G.
art land landscape place river water
Art & Design
Subject Category:
Art education; Environmental justice; Art history

The installation, Connected by Water, is a culmination of experiences and places that shape my sense of self and place. My family has lived along the Salmon River for five generations, and I have guided rafts down its waters since high school. The Salmon River is not just my home; it is a shaping force for who and how I am. While depicting the specific landscape of the Salmon, Snake, and Clearwater Rivers and the positioning of the exhibit in Moscow Idaho, Connected by Water invites viewers to consider their own experiences in this landscape or other places with which they have relationships. As the outdoors play such a crucial role in my art and formative life experiences, it seems only fitting that my thesis took shape on the sides of mountains and banks of rivers that inspired Connected by Water.

This written thesis, The Confluence of Self and Place, explains how my experience of growing up where and how I did informs my work and is entangled with my understanding of self and place. In addition to the direct inclusion of journal entries from the past year, a majority of the ideas and phrasing existed first in handwritten journals that traveled across the places featured in this thesis. The introduction acknowledges the land and the role it has played in shaping my work and my sense of self. In Chapter 1, watersheds literally and metaphorically define the boundaries within the Snake River drainage and connect all elements within. Chapter 2 explores how pacing and movement inform one’s experience, attentiveness, and awareness of details within a landscape. Lastly, Chapter 3 decenters dualistic notions of right/wrong to pose questions of how and why we can authentically engage and interact with place.

Together, Connected by Water: The Confluence of Self and Place expresses my upbringing along the Salmon River and the new experiences and continuous relationships I have with the watersheds of the Northwest. By asking viewers to consider their own relationships with place, I hope to engage with the question of how we (humans) settle our weight into dynamic landscapes as part of an intricate community.

masters, M.F.A., Art & Design -- University of Idaho - College of Graduate Studies, 2020-05
Major Professor:
Gottwald, Dave
Sonnichsen, Mike; Cohn, Teresa; Lupinacci, John
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