By Eden Gallanter
Marin County’s Lagunitas Creek is a changing habitat for wildlife, a waterway disrupted by dams, and a primary source of local drinking water. Artist David Alan Boyd illuminates the complex relationship between humans and nature as they play out in a local watershed in his most recent installation, The Lagunitas Project.
Boyd’s installation, currently located at The Hub SoMa in San Francisco, is a luminous series of images depicting reflections along Lagunitas Creek. These photographs are printed on richly textured watercolor paper and linen. They range from sparkling-clear reflections of familiar California trees, sky, and vegetation, to abstract patches of color left open to interpretation.
Boyd tells a story about how we as human beings intervene in the natural systems that sculpt bodies of water and the communities of wildlife they support. He also points out that these bodies of water record the effects of human habitation on our environment. As inextricable components of natural systems ourselves, we fit into the concept that human beings call “nature.” Boyd’s images of the creek’s reflections begin to look like reflections of ourselves, and recognizing the shapes, colors, and water-shaken images depicted in his photographs is like recognizing the size and shape of our own faces.
Boyd’s background in architecture, photography and 3D photographic installation, and even his deep interests in music and Buddhist meditation has contributed to his interest in and creative response to Bay Area watersheds and their human and natural narratives.
The Lagunitas Project continues to grow and expand as Boyd explores and photographs the course of this dynamic watershed. As an artist, Boyd aspires to get away from value judgments on how water has changed over the years because of human activity. In letting go of negative interpretations of a changing watershed, Boyd can more freely focus on stories, on relationships, and on the sometimes painful beauty of change and challenge.
In addition to The Lagunitas Project, Boyd’s series of snow landscapes also hangs in The Hub. Softly printed on vellum, these photographs depict shadows of trees on snow and the gentle curves of fresh snowdrifts. Boyd continues to investigate the concept of essential nature, as expressed through water and light in their different forms, through his beautiful and thoughtful artwork, encouraging us to think about our relationship to our watersheds, and about our relationship with our world.
Photos by David Alan Boyd.