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Portal Gallery

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Situated near our special exhibition space in the Museum, the Portal Gallery features large scale, site specific art created by regional artists.


Water Flow: Under the Colorado RiverVelo_MoralesDam_ColoradoRiver #15

January 26 - May 26

From its headwaters deep in the Rocky Mountains north of Denver, the Colorado River travels through Colorado and Utah into Arizona, where the river creates the Grand Canyon and defines the borders between Arizona, Nevada, and California. At its
terminus, the river empties into the Sea of Cortez, also known as the Gulf of California, in Mexico.

Captured at night as photograms, this new work by Arizona photographic artist Kathleen Velo reflects the location and the water quality of sites along the Colorado River.

Velo creates the original photograms directly on chromogenic photographic paper in the river in the dark of night. Once the paper is submerged under water and exposed to a bright light, an image of the water contents—the silt, sediment, plant life, minerals, and viscosity—is captured on the paper. The interaction of the water contents with the photographic emulsion creates an alchemy of colors that authenticate the unique character of the water in each location. Velo’s key objective is to create a
visual representation of the precarious and transient qualities of water in the Colorado River, a critical social and environmental issue affecting millions of people in the Western and Southwestern United States.

“The Colorado River is a magnificent force of nature, and flows through some of the most beautiful landscapes in the United States,” said Velo. “When I am creating these photograms in the water, there is an almost mystical connection for me between
the water and the moment of capturing the image. When I witness the overuse and abuse of the river, it becomes somewhat personal.”

This exhibition of photograms from a contemporary photographer and artist complements our current Ansel Adams exhibit.

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