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ADVANCING THE ARTS ACROSS MARYLAND

TANJA NORTH

TANJA NORTH

Artist Work

Bay Composition No. 3
2008
watercolor on paper
25" x 40"
Bay Composition No. 4
2008
watercolor on paper
25" x 40"
Bay Composition No. 7
2010
watercolor on paper
25" x 40"
Bay Composition No. 8
2011
watercolor on paper
25" x 40"
Bay Composition No. 5
2009
watercolor on paper
25" x 40"
Bay Composition No. 9
2011
watercolor on paper
25" x 40"

Artist Information

County
Somerset County
Artistic Category

Visual Arts

Artist Statement

Although the forms depicted in the Bay Composition Series are entirely imaginary, the flow of water from contained to open expanses of water is specifically meant to suggest “estuary.” Land, river and ocean meet uniquely in the Bay: with fifty major tributaries and saltwater tides from the Atlantic reaching over eleven thousand miles of shoreline, the Chesapeake is a compelling example of the interconnectedness of the natural world. I use an aerial perspective in effort to represent this water system with its myriad branches and crenellated shoreline as a living, breathing entity. Contrast between organic forms and right angles are intended to evoke tension and balance in several polar relationships: between the natural world and the built environment, between the timeless and the temporary, and between the intuitive and the rational. The vertical sections are defined by depicted light and are meant to suggest the passage of time, perception and memory. I recall visceral “moods” of changing light: the softness of the early morning, noonday shadows of clouds on the marsh and water, the intensely golden light of the late afternoon. As the water flows through different regions of land use, I use the grid to suggest the built environment, as this is how development (cities, agriculture, industry) often appears from the air. The aerial view is meant to present it from an expanded perspective: the grid exists by and within nature, and not the other way around.

Artist Bio

In 2008, I was finishing art school on the west coast, making paintings about the Chesapeake. A year later I was working outside as an environmental educator on a skipjack in Baltimore. Three years later I work and live on Tangier Island, in the middle of the country’s largest estuary, some twenty miles southeast of where the Potomac River empties into the Bay. None of these statements are unrelated to the development of the Bay Composition series: subject matter comes from countless hours spent paddling, sailing, and boating; reading articles by scientists, listening to stories from watermen and walking urban and remote shorelines.