Climate ChangeEnvironmentPainting

The Horrific Beauty of Climate Change: Zaria Forman’s Art and Philosophy

By December 24, 2018 No Comments

She was kind enough to share her work with me. It left me speechless. Introducing Zaria Forman and her Climate Change series. We will be posting several tours in 2019 specifically focused on climate change in Asia.

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Zaria Forman documents climate change with pastel drawings. She travels to remote regions of the world to collect images and inspiration for her work, which is exhibited world-wide. Below is her Artist Statement and several photos involved in the unique process she uses to create her works.

ZARIA FORMAN ARTIST STATEMENT:

It is my life’s mission to convey the urgency of climate change through art. I travel to the Polar regions to capture the unfolding story of ice melt, and to the Equator to document the rising seas. My drawings explore moments of transition, turbulence, and tranquility in the landscape, allowing viewers to connect with places they may never be able to visit. According to behavioral psychology, we take action and make decisions based on our emotions, which art has the ability to stoke. My images overflow with details to draw the viewer in, and transport them. I convey the beauty of these vulnerable regions, as opposed to their devastation, in order to inspire viewers to help preserve them. These landscapes are fairly inaccessible, so their environmental issues may seem remote or abstract. I work on a large scale to recreate the wonder of witnessing an iceberg up close. I hope to generate momentum and unity of purpose across boundaries of discipline, geography and political affiliation.

 

 

Antarctica is a series of pastel drawings I created after my four week art residency aboard the National Geographic Explorer, in Antarctica. This vast continent of ethereal grandeur has towering ice that radiates a sapphire blue and floats in still, dark waters. Its glaciers accumulated over millions of years, carving out valleys in jagged rock and spilling out to ancient seas. The whirring of penguin colonies echoes off icy walls amidst a chorus of ambient crackling, as prehistoric air escapes the iceberg’s interior. Antarctica is an extraordinary place where life persists in a frigid, harsh, climate and where monoliths of ancient ice arise from beginnings as humble as a single snowflake.

Today it is also a landscape in flux. As temperatures rise, glaciers melt more rapidly than they grow. Many of us are intellectually aware that climate change is our greatest global challenge, and yet the problem may feel abstract, the imperiled landscapes remote. The scale and detail of my drawings are meant to make Antarctica’s magnificence and ephemerality visceral to the viewer, emulating the overpowering experience of being beside a glacier. They capture one moment in time in this ever shifting, rapidly changing ecosystem, allowing us to celebrate what is still here, and contemplate what we have to lose

On the Western side of the Antarctic peninsula, is a place called Whale Bay, where icebergs calved from a nearby glacier are carried on wind and water to their final resting place. Since the bay is shallow, the icebergs scrape against the sea floor and become “grounded”, meaning they remain there until they have completely melted – a slow process that can take years. Bays that enclose grounded icebergs like these are called “iceberg graveyards,” capturing the eerie solemnity of the sight. Over time, the wind and water, like artists’ hands, sculpt the icebergs into unimaginable shapes. Please enjoy a trip around one.


For more information on Zaria’s Work, please see : zariaforman.com/

Author Matt Dagher-margosian

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