Kerry Skarbakka makes performance-based photographic work that depict existential anxiety through the acts of falling, drowning, and fighting.

Artist Bio

Fluid are large-format constructions of a human interacting with water ranging from drowning to drought. Made at various depths and locations, with the artist as model, these photographs are visual metaphors that reference current concerns and envision the potential realities of climate change. From these depictions of drowning and displacement caused by flash floods and drought, the effects of global warming and the complex meaning of water as currency (and a resource) is at the center of this visual discussion. Adaptation and survival are the new discourse, challenging the individual meaning and the very definition of water itself.

Award Year


Kerry Skarbakka

Kerry Skarbakka

Corvallis, OR

Kerry Skarbakka was born in Duluth, Minnesota. His performance-based photographic works depicting existential anxiety through the acts of falling, drowning and fighting have been exhibited internationally including the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, the Haifa Museum of Art, Israel and The North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh. Given the cover of notable publications as Aperture, The Missouri Review and Genti di Fotografia, his work has been featured in other publications including Afterimage, Art and America and ArtReview International. Along with Creative Capital, Skarbakka has received funding from the Seattle’s 1 % Percent for the Arts and the Illinois Arts Council. Additionally, he has appeared on live interviews on FOX, WGN, PBS and NBC’s Today Show. Skarbakka received his BA (Studio Art) from the University of Washington and his MFA in Photography from Columbia College Chicago. He currently serves as an Assistant Professor of Photography at Oregon State University.