Four Centuries of Glacier Art

Caught in the Ice Floes, c. 1867
Caught in the Ice Floes, c. 1867 © William Bradford


Now on view at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection in Kleinburg, Ontario, the exhibition “Vanishing Ice: Alpine and Polar Landscapes in Art, 1775-2012” explores the aesthetic and cultural significance of glaciers for Western art over the past 400 years.

The exhibit aims to inspire audiences to take action to protect the world’s glaciers as global warming takes its toll on these magnificent landscapes and icy frontiers. “Vanishing Ice is both a beautiful glimpse of some of the most remote and fragile ecosystems, and a call to action on what many people hold to be the defining issue of this generation,” said Victoria Dickenson, executive director and CEO of the McMichael gallery, in a news release.

The traveling exhibition is comprised of more than 70 works by 50 artists from 12 different countries, including paintings, rare expedition journals, photographs, videos, and installations. The artists presenting include Bisson Frères, Rockwell Kent, Thomas Hart Benton, and Alexis Rockman. Despite diverse themes and interpretations, almost all the artists were, in some way, stimulated by an effort to eulogize the beauty of ice.

“I was looking for works that would inspire people today to feel the same attraction that drew artists to these regions over the centuries. Seeing these works, people will hopefully experience this connection and be moved in some way to make a difference,” said Dr. Barbara Matilsky, the show’s curator, in an interview with National Gallery of Canada Magazine. The traveling exhibit’s first stop was the Whatcom Museum in Bellingham, Washington in 2013. After Bellingham it traveled to the El Paso Museum in Texas, and then on to the Glenbow Museum in Calgary, Alberta. Kleinburg is the final stop.

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Arranged both geographically and chronologically, the pieces in the show vividly demonstrate how rapidly alpine and polar landscapes have changed over time. The photograph Noctilucent Clouds over Mount Baker, Washington (July 30,1975) by Eliot Porter (1901-1990) captures Coleman Glacier crowned by a rare kind of twilight cloud found in Polar Regions and composed of crystals of water ice. (See a time lapse of noctilucent clouds here.) It was taken during Porter’s journey to Pacific Northwest. Along with photographs by Henry C. Engberg (1865-1942) and Brett Baunton (1959-), this work documents the dramatic retreat of the Coleman Glacier since the beginning of the century.

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Please click here for more information on Vanishing Ice at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection.

Roundup: NZ photos, vanishing ice art, murder mystery

Glacier melting recorded by photos

source: the New Zealand Herald
source: the New Zealand Herald

“A series of photographs taken over 10 years has revealed the dramatic changes to one of New Zealand’s most famous glacier.The Massey University scientists who took the pictures – at the same time each year during surveys – say the changes to Fox Glacier on the South Island’s West Coast are also having a major impact on the surrounding landscape, with the valley rising by more than a metre in the last two years.”

Read more about these photos here.

Vanishing Ice Exhibition across Canada

Jean de Pomereu (French, b. 1969), Fissure 2 (Antarctica) from Sans Nom, 2008, archival inkjet print, 107 x 129 cm, Whatcom Museum, Gift of the artist
Jean de Pomereu (French, b. 1969), Fissure 2 (Antarctica) from Sans Nom, 2008, archival inkjet print, 107 x 129 cm, Whatcom Museum, Gift of the artist

“The exhibit shows climate change in a new way, says Barbara Matilsky, the curator behindVanishing Ice. “Many people are aware of the critical importance of ice for the planet,” she says, adding that she wanted to focus on how the artistic legacy of ice has helped shape Western views of the natural world. The exhibition — which contains over seventy works by fifty artists from twelve countries — begins a three-month run on Saturday at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection in Kleinburg, Ontario (before this, it visited Calgary’s Glenbow Museum.) Because it covers a span of over two centuries, the exhibition provides some unique opportunities to see changes, both in the icy landscapes themselves and society’s view of them.”

Read more about this exhibition here.

New murder mystery

 "Fortitude," an Arctic murder mystery series on the Pivot channel
“Fortitude,” an Arctic murder mystery series on the Pivot channel

““Fortitude,” an ambitious 12-episode murder mystery beginning on last Thursday night, takes place in two unusual locales. One is its slightly fantastical far-far-north setting, a fictional Arctic island — based on the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard — where a small international community is outnumbered by polar bears; crime is thought to be nonexistent; and anyone near death is exiled to the mainland, because bodies can’t be buried in the permafrost.”

Read more about this here.