Curator‘s Comments

Catching the Drift, by Ellen Driscoll, features four works from the Museum’s collection set in a blue, underwater world of sea creatures and plant life all etched in a series of glass panels. The tendrils and bell of a jellyfish, snagged in a net, float above an image of Camille Corot’s painting Fair Maid of Gascony. Bethiah Bassett of Lee, Massachusetts, painted by Erastus Salisbury Field, peers quizzically out of the fathoms. The American ship’s figurehead Ceresbreasts the waves, while Augustus Saint-Gaudens’s Diana of the Towersurfaces like a sleek mermaid. Each of the fixtures is painted with different details of sea life and fishing gear, submerged in pools of deep blue.

The glass panels, fabricated by the Franz Mayer company of Munich, Germany, are described by Driscoll as “translucent optical windows or doors [that] conjure up a watery world beyond the architecture” and refer to the hidden system of pipes that bring water to and from the site. Using computer-controlled techniques, the artist’s designs were sandblasted into the glass layers, and some of the imagery was also reinforced by hand painting.

Catching the Drift

Ellen Driscoll. American, born 1953

Catching the Drift, 2001

The creation of this restroom was made possible by funding from the Kohler Trust for Arts and Education and Kohler Company. The altered plumbing products were created by Ellen Driscoll in Arts/Industry, a long-term artist-in-residence program of the John Michael Kohler Arts Center of Sheboygan, Wisconsin