Deep Time and Glacial Ghosts
The 19th-century American landscape painter Frederic Church risked his life to paint oil sketches of a calving iceberg from a boat off the coast of Labrador for his monumental painting of 1861, The Icebergs: or, The North. The “supernatural splendors” as he put it, of the arctic landscape, embodied the combination of terror and beauty that defines the sublime. At the dawn of the 21st century, the arctic itself is in peril, as glacial melting occurs at alarming rates around the globe.
Deep Time is a body of work that began with images of ice cores and broadened to include other works responding to the sublime beauty and alarming imperilment of ice phenomena. Ice cores are core samples of accumulations of snow and ice that record climate conditions over thousands of years. Glacial melting is perhaps one of the most alarming indicators of global warming. In the Glacial Ghosts images, the gradual dissolution of form becomes a metaphor for the melting and ultimate loss of glaciers. The ambiguous vertical shapes in these pieces suggest ghostly figures, referencing loss and the ultimate harm to humans that may result from a warming earth.