The Rivers Exhibition at the Garrison Institute

By May 1, 2023Artist News

The Garrison Institute held an art exhibition, public open house on Saturday, April 29, 2023

The exhibit featured the work of Paz Perlman and artists from the Think About Water collective – all critically acclaimed artists known for their powerful bodies of work that grapple with today’s most profound societal and environmental challenges. The exhibition promised to be a thought-provoking and visually stunning experience.

Perlman and Foster’s projects harness the intersection of art, ecology, and meditation to deepen the viewers’ sense of connection, awareness, and responsibility towards the environment – and to hopefully ignite action. Their art recently provided the impactful visual element to the Garrison Institute’s 2023 Pathways to Planetary Health Symposium, which united scientists, economists, ethicists, communicators, and leaders from across fields to share ideas that lead to tangible altruistic and environmental action.


The Rivers exhibition at the Garrison Institute includes 10 artists from Think About Water, a collective of ecological artists and activists who interpret, celebrate, and defend water. These artists have experienced the effect of environmental degradation as well as the transformative power of art; they have chosen water as their subject matter or medium.

“As curator of an art exhibition to accompany the Pathways to Planetary Health Initiative at the Garrison Institute, I chose ‘Rivers’ to be the subject,” Fredericka Foster explains. “Water is the ultimate commons, shared by all living beings, and the Institute is above the Hudson River. Our artists believe that art is a form of direct mental targeting, enlivening emotions and creating a sense of connection. We need both reason and feeling to create positive and lasting change.”

Among the many striking pieces from Foster’s international roster of artists, Jaanika Peerna’s work is particularly moving. “I have lived half of my life near the shores of the River Pirita in my native country, Estonia, and the other half on the banks of the Hudson River; they connect within me as one love. All waterways are ultimately connected, if we only let them be.” Peerna created a painting for Rivers, collaborating with water.


More information about each artist in the Garrison Institute’s Think About Water exhibition can be found here: Basia Irland, Doug Fogelson, Dr. Kelsey Leonard, Ellen Kozak, Fredericka Foster, Jaanika Peerna, Lauren Rosenthal McManus, Meridel Rubenstein, Rosalyn Driscoll, and Stacy Levy.


Paz Perlman, who created the Down to Earth installation, is a visual artist who exhibits internationally and takes a particular interest in how art can support our collective awakening on issues such as climate change and social inequality. She is a long-time student of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh.

“I created the Down to Earth interactive installation as a homage to the earth and in particular the air element,” Perlman explains. “It elevates our awareness that there is no division between the external wind and our internal breath. If we truly embody that truth, we will not pollute the air we all share.”

Among its many affective media, the exhibit uses symbolic language to convey its message. The asemic language on the surrounding wall, written with organic soil, is a mantra of the word “air” in Hebrew, which contains within it the words “light” and” mirror.” Please enjoy a short film on the Down to Earth exhibit by documentary filmmaker Max Pugh here.