Fort Worth Community Art Center will open a new exhibit, “Off the Grid,” a series of light-hearted vignettes created from individual photographs of debris collected from Eagle Mountain Lake on January 5. The exhibit will be on view until Feb 15, 2018, and contains over thirty original pieces by local photographer Becky Wilkes.
During the drought of 2014, receding water levels unveiled hidden shorelines and abundant debris. During walks on the beach, Wilkes photographed the debris in situ, often not knowing what she was photographing until it was unearthed. Akin to ancient superstition, she felt that if she captured an object’s image, she was responsible for it. Dutifully, she pushed her wheelbarrow along the beach to assist in the removal of these items.
From the debris, Wilkes built digital collages, or “Grids”, to include each of the nearly 6000 items as they were found on the lakefront or rephotographed in the studio. Eventually, she began to explore other representations for the material and individual items fell “Off the Grid” into vignettes. Debris over time, combined with sun, wind and wave breaks apart into interesting bits of color, sometimes recognizable, sometimes not. Without being overly obvious and quite whimsical, the viewer is lead to consider the impact of bottles and other debris in our recreational areas.
With the abundant runoff of the May 2015 flood, and the subsequent barrage of debris filling the lake, Wilkes began to understand the migratory nature of trash in our waterways flowing from our drainage ditches and roadways. Eagle Mountain Lake, while only 9 square miles in size, is fed by a watershed of over 800 square miles. “The painful reality is that by accidental or intentional action, the countryside is being inundated on a massive scale by the individual fingerprints of personal irresponsibility.”
Fort Worth Community Arts Center is located at 1300 Gendy Street, Fort Worth TX. Hours of operation are Tuesday through Saturday, 9 AM - 5 PM.
Becky Wilkes lives with her husband on Eagle Mountain Lake in Azle, TX. Educated as a Chemical Engineer at Texas A&M, she spent much of her life as a stay-at-home mother of four children who have now blessed her with a multitude of perfectly fantastical grandchildren. She continues her study of photography at the Northeast Campus of Tarrant County College.