Nature is Served

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“I never want to force an idea or feeling,” says photographer Ansley West Rivers of her artistic motivation. Instead, she says, she favors “a relaxed approach, where conversations evolve naturally.”

These aims were certainly satisfied when Laney Contemporary and the Grey came together in February to host a dinner in honor of West Rivers’ new show, “Seven Rivers,” a body of large-format photographs and hand-painted cyanotype and palladium maps depicting major U.S. watersheds. “This art- and food-focused event is the first of its kind for us,” says gallery director Susan Laney. “We’re delighted to provide a space for the community to connect with artists in new and elevated ways.”

The work, which West Rivers began in 2014, is no doubt linked in spirit to the mission of Canewater Farm, the organic farm she runs with her husband, Rafe Rivers. Canewater supplies many Savannah restaurants, including the Grey, and proceeds from the dinner benefited the Nature Conservancy, which protects the Savannah and Altamaha rivers, two crucial waterways for Savannah and Darien. Thus, the evening was a perfect confluence of art, environment and ideology. “I hope people leave the gallery wanting to know more about the watersheds that sustain their own communities,” West Rivers says. “You have to access something before you can learn from it.”

The menu featured turnip soup with oysters, as well as braised lamb, roasted carrots, and Canewater greens. Photo by Parker Stewart
The Grey’s Brian Fiasconaro expediting lemon cake for the dessert course. Photo by Parker Stewart
Photo by Parker Stewart
Photo by Parker Stewart