Released Sept. 13, 2016

Water Rising, a work of collaboration between a visual artist and a writer, has brought its message of environmental stewardship to the Spirol Gallery at Quinebaug Valley Community College, where it will be on exhibit through October 4.

Water Rising features an association of stunning watercolors by internationally known visual artist Garth Evans and haunting poems by award-winning writer Leila Philip. Experienced together, the poems and watercolors interact, challenging and inspiring audiences to a greater awareness of and discussion about our relationship to our rural spaces.

Evans, a British sculptor whose work can be found in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art, and other major collections, and Philip, an English professor at the College of the Holy Cross and author of three books, challenged themselves by creating works outside their usual practice with the goal of bringing these new works together.

For 12 months Evans turned to creating watercolors while Philip worked in lyric mode, agreeing to wait until they each produced a body of work before sharing the outcome. At the end of a year they brought their works together and selected 12 watercolors and 11 poems that now make up the collection. Once the works were set side by side, the artists were intrigued by the power of art to translate across genres. Placed next to the poems, the watercolors began to speak to those texts, while the poems, read before the watercolors, powerfully informed ways of looking at the images.

The resulting book, Water Rising, was published by New Rivers Press last year. The authors plan to use the book, together with music composed by Shirish Korde, to generate conversations about and support for environmental stewardship. Evans and Philip are donating 100% of net proceeds from the sale of the book to organizations working to preserve the beauty and natural resources of New England, especially in Northeastern Connecticut, where the work was made.

Water Rising’s new video installation, Environment, Memory & Things, is premiering at QVCC. It interweaves poems from the book read by Philip, conversation with the authors, and music by the composer, as well as images of watercolors from the book, photographs taken by the authors of their local landscape and images of each stage of three new watercolors as they evolve.

The artists’ reception for Water Rising will be Thursday, September 22, from 6-8:30 p.m. The public is invited to attend and admission is free. For more information, visit,, or contact Mark Szantyr, professor of fine arts, at 860-932-4160 or