Sperone Westwater is pleased to present new glacier paintings by Warren, Connecticut-based artist Alexis Rockman, his fifth solo at the gallery. Presented amidst the critical ecological moment of global warming and climate crisis, this exhibition delivers an urgent, if not cautionary vision of the environmental state of the planet. In these epic works, glaciers of massive scale tower forebodingly, their monumentality underscored by the inclusion of small-scale foreground elements such as traditional kayaks of Arctic indigenous peoples. Rockman simultaneously looks to the past, referencing historic shipwrecks like the ill-fated USS Jeannette in his painting of the same name, while grounding himself firmly in the present, as calving icebergs or cascading waterfalls of melting ice reflect the state of our warming climate. Exhibited alongside his glacial works are watercolor seascapes that imagine artifacts lost to the ocean and the wildlife that inherit them, further mythologizing the creative and destructive forces of the natural world.
“These glacier paintings are more lyrical and melancholy than direct activism,” says Rockman. “It’s more of being a witness to not only the glacial geology that we’re losing but also the culture of Inuit people, their way of life and the animals that they depend on that are going by the wayside. The paintings may seem peaceful at first as they contemplate unsettling, invisible ruptures, breaches and fractures in the glaciers that are hidden dramas from climate change.”