Thursday, November 17, 2022

Exhibition at Olana Opening on Sunday

The Olana Partnership, in collaboration with the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation, presents Chasing Icebergs: Art and a Disappearing Landscape, the first winter exhibition at Olana State Historic Site. 

The exhibition, shown primarily in the Sharp Family Gallery at Olana, highlights Frederic Church’s iceberg sketches from his 1859 intrepid voyage to the Arctic. Risking his life, Church chartered a ship to the treacherous waters surrounding Newfoundland and Labrador—an area known as Iceberg Alley—on a mission that made him the first American artist to explore the region for the purpose of painting icebergs, a landmark event in the history of art. The exhibit includes photographs and historic texts which Church collected about icebergs and Arctic exploration, as well as the work of four contemporary artists who contemplate the wonder and fragility of Earth’s polar environments. Just as Church used his major work The Icebergs to reflect on the major crisis of his time—the Civil War—many contemporary artists reflect on the sublime power of Arctic ice and use it to uncover the global crisis of our time—climate change and the immediate danger it poses to our future and that of these imperiled wonders of nature. 

Joining Frederic Church’s works in this exhibition are artworks and writings by his companions and fellow explorers Dr. Isaac Israel Hayes and Louis L. Noble, as well as photographs from William Bradford’s Greenland expedition in 1869. Many of the historic works come from Church’s collection at Olana and illuminate Church’s long fascination with the Arctic region. The exhibition delves into the history of exploration, artistic representation of the Arctic, and the Indigenous peoples of Newfoundland and Labrador—such as the Mi’kmaq, Innu, and Inuit. Contemporary artists include Lynn Davis, Zaria Forman, Mark Igloliorte, and Kambui Olujimi. 

Lynn Davis is a world-traveling photographer who in large format photography over five expeditions to Greenland captured icebergs, much the way Frederic Church did with vast oil on canvas paintings. Zaria Forman circumnavigated an iceberg in a similar way to Frederic Church, capturing details and sound through an immersive film. Mark Igloliorte draws from his heritage from Nunatsiavut, Labrador, and Inuktitut language in his interdisciplinary works of paint, performance, and installation. Alluding to the consequences of inaction, Kambui Olujimi challenges the concept of inevitability through installations of glass sculpture and water. 

The exhibition, which opens on Sunday, November 20, and continues through March 26, 2023, was the subject of a conversation this morning on WAMC's The Roundtable with Lynn Davis and Eleanor Jones Harvey, Senior Curator at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. That conversation can be heard here.

In conjunction with the exhibition, and in collaboration with Black Dome Press, The Olana Partnership has reproduced a new edition of Louis L. Noble’s 1861 book After Icebergs with a Painter, an engaging glimpse into the expedition he took alongside Frederic Church in 1859 to the waters of Newfoundland and Labrador. This important book, long out of print, features a new introductory essay and colored reproductions of most of Church’s iceberg sketches and paintings, as well as the first detailed map of his journey. The book is available online and at the Olana Museum Store. 

Chasing Icebergs: Art and a Disappearing Landscape was curated by William L. Coleman, Ph.D., Former Director of Collections & Exhibitions, with support from Allegra Davis, Associate Curator, and Ida Brier, Archivist/Librarian, all of The Olana Partnership, in collaboration with the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation. 

For more information and to secure tickets to the exhibition for opening day, Sunday, November 20, click here.

No comments:

Post a Comment