Sacramento Meditations

Jeff Enlow, Helen & Newton Harrison, Susannah Sayler & Edward Morris, Brett Snyder, Jenny Stark

June 11 - August 16, 2015

opening reception: Thuursday, June 11, 6pm – 9pm

Sacramento Meditations is an exhibition exploring the complex nature of California’s ongoing water crisis as it relates both to the implications of the recent drought, as well as to long standing political conflicts throughout the state. At the nexus of these issues is the San Joaquin River Delta, and it is for this reason that we have selected bodies of work from each of the participating artists that deal specifically with that geography. The show gets its name from Sacramento Meditations, 1977 Helen and Newton Harrison’s largest and most extensive body of work regarding the California water crisis. Commissioned by the Floating Museum of San Francisco for the SFMOMA, the prophetic nature of Sacramento Meditations, 1977 places the exhibition within a historical context both artistically and geologically. Verge is excited to be the first institution in Sacramento to show this important work by The Harrison Studio in its entirety.

Susannah Sayler and Edward Morris (Sayler / Morris) of The Canary Project collaborated with Brett Snyder to produce the first iteration of their American River Archive project. This project imagines how historians in the distant future would understand the ideology and culture of LateExtractionAge California by focusing on a single flow of water: the American River. The project consists of original photography, historical images, maps and other visual material. In “Behind the Levees,” photographer Jeff Enlow was commissioned by National Geographic in 2011 to document the community and landscape of the Delta, telling the story of the unique community that lives amongst the sloughs and farmland in that region. Through photography and film Jenny Stark seeks to investigate the parallels that have been made between Sacramento and New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina. Stark’s work draws surprising parallels between these two landscapes, infrastructurally, geologically, and culturally.

Sacramento Meditations will be exhibited at two venues, Verge Center for the Arts and Sacramento City Hall. The two venues have staggered opening dates and individual opening receptions with the exhibition at Verge opening on Thursday, June 11th and at City Hall Tuesday, June 30. Sacramento Meditations is produced in partnership with the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission .


Jeff Enlow Is a New York based photographer, editor, and writer. In addition to his work in photojournalism he is an editor with Corbis Images. Enlow has worked on projects and commissions for Wired , the Wall Street Journal , Vice Magazine , NPR , SF Weekly, and the National Geographic Explorers Program.

Helen and Newton Harrison Among the leading pioneers of the ecoart movement, the collaborative team of Newton and Helen Mayer Harrison (often referred to simply as “the Harrisons”) have worked for almost forty years with biologists, ecologists, architects, urban planners and other artists to initiate collaborative dialogues to uncover ideas and solutions which support biodiversity and community development. The Harrison’s concept of art embraces a breathtaking range of disciplines. They are historians, diplomats, ecologists, investigators, emissaries and art activists. Their work involves proposing solutions and involves not only public discussion, but extensive mapping and documentation of these proposals in an art context.

Susannah Sayler and Edward Morris (Sayler/Morris) work with photography, video, writing, open source projects, curation and installation. Of primary concern are contemporary efforts to develop ecological consciousness and the possibilities for art within a social activist practice. In 2006 they cofounded The Canary Project a studio that produces visual media and artworks that deepen public understanding of ecological issues, principally climate change. In 2014, Sayler and Morris were awarded the Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship. In 20082009 they were Loeb Fellows at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. They have exhibited and produced projects at both science and art institutions internationally, including MASS MoCA; Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum; Nevada Museum of Art; Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago; Kunsthal, Rotterdam; Walker Art Center, Belvedere Museum; Exit Art; Cleveland Museum of Natural History; Denver Museum of Contemporary Art; and others. They currently teach in the Transmedia Department at Syracuse University.

Brett Snyder works at and researches the intersection of architecture and media with a particular interest in developing vibrant urban spaces. Snyder is a principal of Cheng+Snyder an experimental architecture studio based in Oakland, California and an Assistant Professor of Design at the University of California, Davis. Snyder’s hybrid background in architecture and graphics have resulted in an array of projects from the scale of watches to urban scaled design interventions. Much of Snyder’s work has focused on the way that mobile media has changed the way that we navigate, understand, and experience the urban landscape. Recent projects include Smart Sidewalks, a winning entry to the NYC Reinvent Payphones competition, Museum of the Phantom City an architectural iPhone app to view visionary but unbuilt architecture, and S.Alt City an interactive building mural in Syracuse, New York.

Jenny Stark was born in Bellaire, Texas. She received her BFA in Photography from the University of Houston and went on to receive an MFA in Film/Video from the California Institute of the Arts. She is an Associate Professor of Communications and Film as well as the Film Coordinator at Sacramento State University. Her films and videos have shown at South by Southwest, Austin; The New York Underground Film Festival, Chicago Underground Film Festival, The Viennale, Vienna; LA Film Forum, The Aurora Picture Show, Houston; The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; The British Film Institute and Image Music Text, London and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Mexico City. She recently completed a photography series of the California Delta for an exhibition at The Crocker Art Museum and will also be showing her films and photography at Unite, an exhibition of Sacramento State faculty work also at The Crocker.