Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Arctic Air - an absolute difficult beauty

This work represents my initial responses to the experience of travelling in the High Arctic. It includes drawings, watercolour drawings, photographs and a film & sound piece of the sound of ancient air being released from glacial ice made in collaboration with my son Tom Poole-Kerr.

These are on show at the RWA, Bristol until August 20th 2017. 
For those of you who can't make this here are some of images of the work - photographs, drawings and paintings - in the exhibition 

The work represents initial responses to a thunder grey and pale blue world, encounters with icebergs and glaciers, watching drifting mist hanging in dark snow-strewn mountains, hearing glaciers calving, and sailing through a sea of luminous ice. 

Trapped Air -  series of photographs taken as I travelled 
through Svalbard. 
Printed on Titanium coated linen rag archive quality paper by Dave Hammond

Thick ice radiates an ethereal blue, hovering between turquoise with hints of cobalt. Glacial ice becomes so dense over years of compression, squeezing, forcing out tiny air pockets between crystals. Extremely dense ice absorbs a small amount of red light, leaving a bluish tint in reflected light. Blue is a sign of old age  - I crouch down and look at the base of the glacier, here lie remnants from the last Ice Age. I think about the hundreds, even thousands of years locked away inside, suspended in tiny air bubbles, about how many years snow has fallen, compressing this enormous thick ice mass that is slowly flowing down the mountain valley, the sheer weight pulling with it the debris of earth and rock with it, sliding relentlessly to the sea.
Walking around ice lying on the shore, I hear the popping of air bubbles releasing ancient air into the atmosphere; it’s as though it’s breathing out. In my notes I write ‘I can’t put down what I’m seeing… it seems quite insane to be trying’.  
Ymerbukta,Svalbard  105x146cm  Ink, graphite, gesso, watercolour
Fuglefjorden, Svalbard    101 x 75cm  Ink, graphite, gesso, watercolour

 mixed media on canvas (two canvases) 150cm x 270cm