Traveling to and existing in the beautiful white expanse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet has been a dream since childhood. Now, back in my daily life, holding onto the experience is like holding onto ice that will inevitable melt or sublimate away. All I can do is watch as it morphs in my brain from a series of complex and layered memories to more concrete, but remote stories that can be stored and recalled as I sift through ideas to visually express “the place of white”.
Back in the studio, these memories are requiring a bit of processing, so to speak. Prior to my trip south, I was creating drawings of Northwest glaciers (see Easton Glacier, above). Now, I am making lots of sketches and experiments to flesh out my Antarctica “field notes” into more developed work that carries the thread of the previous drawings, but hopefully captures this place.
It is a bit terrifying to venture into such unknown territory. The white space is so unlike the dirt and bark of my previous subjects. It requires me to pay attention to what is really important about making new work. Are artists required to stay within boundaries defined by previous work, or are we free to explore any media and marks that express the new ideas? And where is the balance between continuity and monotony?