I am an artist devoted to communicating issues of climate change through my practice. For the past decade, I’ve been documenting the dramatic disappearance of glaciers in large-scale series of paintings and photographs developed in close collaboration with glaciologists. It’s a symbiotic relationship: I want my work to accurately reflect the science and the urgency of climate change, and they want me to help them explain their science to the public through my art.
I didn’t begin my career with such a goal. Instead, I just wanted to experience and depict the natural wonder of our world. As a New Yorker, growing up in apartment buildings, the landscape’s open spaces and monumental geological phenomenon were particularly attractive. But expressing the beauty of our environment eventfully wasn’t enough. By the turn of this century I felt compelled to do more, to make my creativity to contribute to saving our planet. Now my goal is to seduce through the magic of the image, while at the same time introducing visual elements to elicit/motivate awareness. I want the viewer to confront, and comprehend the dramatic pace of ecological change and share with me the urgency I feel.
At the outset, I collaborated with scientists who generously provided their archival material, such as chronological records of glacial degradation (repeats), and visual material mapping glacial recession, as well as Landsat imagery from USGS, NASA and NOA. Eventually I needed to participate directly - so finally, I decided to “bear witness” to the three largest ice fields in the world. In 2013, I explored Svalbard and Ny-Alesund, and Antarctica’s Peninsula; in 2014, Greenland’s Jakobshavn and Ilulissat Glaciers; and in 2015 I returned to Antarctica as well as Argentina’s Patagonian ice fields. I have just returned from a two-month journey to Australia and New Zealand’s fast melting Southern Alps. This on-site experience enriches and informs my work leading to exhibitions that begin a dialog with audiences not initially interested in science.
My exhibition, Shifting Glaciers, Changing Perspectives: Bearing Witness to Climate Change, will be on display the Walton Arts Center in Fayetteville, Arkansas from May 4 to September 30, 2017, in conjunction with Artosphere, an annual regionsl festival that celebrates artists influenced by nature. An exquisitely designed book, including with three essays, documents highlights from the last decade of my practice.
Here are some examples from this show: