As a place where the cultures of the U.S. and Mexico simultaneously meet and diverge, the Rio Grande exists as a watery margin of subtle and dense histories. It is a river infused with memory, charged with the presence of past lives at every bend, and yet flowing through a complex twenty-first-century passage. As the Rio Grande runs its course from Colorado to the Gulf of Mexico, it traverses landscapes ranging from managed recreational forests and agricultural land, to the densely populated urban areas around the maquiladores of northern Mexico. It crosses the land of the Pueblo and Navaho Nations and passes under border bridges in south Texas. As one might imagine, to navigate the river is to steer through a host of critical contemporary concerns. Dornith Doherty's photographic series Burnt Water/Agua Quemada addresses the cultural landscape of the Rio Grande and reflects therein a complicated relationship between human agency and the natural environment.
Sara-Jayne Parsons, Curator
Excerpt from her essay in the FOTOFEST2006 catalogue.
DORNITH DOHERTY Rio Grande: Burnt Water/Agua Quemada
Rio Grande: Burnt Water/Agua Quemada, shows the confluence and divergence of cultures of the United States and Mexico. The river traverses recreational forests, agricultural land, Pueblo and Navajo Nations, and densely populated urban areas around the maquiladores of northern Mexico. The series address the relationship between the natural environment and human agency. Doherty takes slide photographs of sites along the Rio Grande and collects objects found on-site. The objects are constructed into a still life and an image is projected onto the objects. The assemblage is then photographed and results in a large scale color print.
Dornith Doherty is represented by McMurtrey Gallery, Houston, Texas, Holly Johnson Gallery, Dallas, Texas, and Bassetti Fine Art Photographs in New Orleans, Louisiana. Her photographs have been featured in over 65 national and international exhibitions, and are included in the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Milwaukee Museum of Art, and the Minneapolis Institute of Art. A recipient of grants from the Fulbright Foundation, the Japan Foundation, the United States Department of the Interior, the Indiana Arts Commission, and the Society for Contemporary Photography, Doherty received a B.A. cum laude in Spanish and French language and literature at Rice University, and a M. F. A. in photography from Yale University. She is currently Associate Professor of Photography at the University of North Texas.