ICE PAINTINGS – Medium: 1) Non-toxic pigments on natural ice 2) Photographic print on aluminum acrylic face mount (Diasec)
ICE CARBON – Medium: 1) Non-toxic pigments on natural ice 2) Photographic print, pencil drawing on paper, acrylic paint on wood box
Vibrant Disappearance 2016
Vibrant Disappearance is an amalgam of ephemeral art, painting, and photography. The miniature abstract paintings measuring 2 to 4 inches in diameter are painted with pigments on patches of ice found in forests and gardens. Their life span depends on the temperature. The paintings are photographed at their visual peak, before they melt away. Finally the photographs are face mounted with acrylic glass, suggestive of ice. In the series Ice-Carbon, I added another medium. The fragmented photographs of ice-paintings are fused with pencil drawings. Graphite is a form of carbon, which is also a key component of all Earth’s life forms, myself included, hence “Carbon” in the title.
Initially, the ice-paintings were an expression of an aesthetic impulse. Although I used non-toxic materials, I brought man-made pigments, industrialized human culture, into the forest. The paintings projected the baggage of centuries of civilisation. They were an odd imposition on nature, not unlike the imposition of human populations on the natural environment. In the end, however, the paintings last only a moment; they melt and disappear, heralding perhaps the self-inflicted disappearance of humankind.
I photograph the paintings. Turning this ephemeral process into an object made me realise that any transformation is due to the interconnectedness of everything. What we call reality is a mesh of societal, psychological, chemical, atomic, and quantum relationships. There is no separateness between the economy and ecology, culture and nature, a plastic bag and a piece of broccoli. Embedded in thick plastic are the images formed by pigments freezing on the surface of ice formed in the forest. This artwork is the result of human and non-human activity. The temperature of the environment and the properties of the ice are as much agents of creation as the artist.
Vibrant Disappearance is about beauty, creation and the paradox of possessing the power to transform matter and energy without the knowledge of where this power can lead. Ice-paintings point to nature, but are eventually, hypocritically one could say, made of metal, plastic, paints and varnishes. And yet, Vibrant Disappearance is an ecological artwork. It is just as everything else entangled in the stream of the interactions that make us and what we call our environment.