The top of a white desk full of crafting materials with fabric and buttons and sewing supplies

Between Rivers

West Gallery
September 12, 2016
October 21, 2016
Todd Deutsch

Saturday, September 17, 6 – 8 p.m.

Associate Professor of Studio Art, Todd Deutsch, lives in Prescott, Wisconsin, at the confluence of the Mississippi and St. Croix Rivers. His photographs depict this unique landscape and the everyday lives of its inhabitants near the convergence of two significant rivers.

Groundbreaking, Prescott High School, 2014; Brass band instruments strewn across a grassy field with trees in the background
Artist Statement

Todd Deutsch

Between Rivers is about place and belonging at the confluence of the Mississippi and the St. Croix. The city of Prescott, Wisconsin, is located where the two rivers converge. I moved there in 2007, and I still feel like a visitor. Like many small towns, there is a soft line dividing those who were born there from those who were not. Their experience of the place is much different -- for better or for worse -- than those of us who are considered recent arrivals. A constellation of common family names identifies lifelong residents. They are linked by birth, marriage, and community affiliations that form an umbrella of kinship and shared experience. They inherited a web of connections that shape their understanding of the place in ways that I will never fully comprehend.

The geography surrounding Prescott is characterized by separation, a necessary precursor to convergence. A drawbridge provides the only route into town from the West and marks the border between Minnesota and Wisconsin. The road leading to the bridge runs along Point Douglas, a narrow finger of land that funnels traffic between the rivers. It’s hard to travel that route and not feel a sense of compression and release, of coming together and breaking apart. I understand the place as a parade of quietly opposing forces: young and old, red and blue, insider and outsider, water and ground. These photographs are motivated by a desire to reconcile the tension in opposition, to find belonging in not belonging. They are a record of inhabiting shared space, of reaching out and wandering.

Read the article by Bill Steiger from the September 14, 2016 edition of The Villager