Seeing Glacial Time: Climate Change in the Arctic
January 30 – May 18, 2014
Tisch Family Gallery
Diane Burko, Kronbreen Glacier composite,
2013. Photographic grid. Artist, Diane Burko.
Diane Burko, Peterman Heading South (after NASA, 2012-11),
2012. Oil on canvas. Artist, Diane Burko.
Diane Burko, On the Crevasse,
2013. Color photograph. Artist, Diane Burko.
'Seeing Glacial Time' main exhibition page >
About the artist: Diane Burko
Veteran landscape painter and photographer Diane Burko travelled
to both the North and South poles in 2013 and to Iceland and Alaska
in recent years. Her representational paintings and aerial photographs
of "extreme landscapes" are informed by historical and contemporary
scientific images yet guided by her intuitive search for the edges of
representation and an expression of geological time.
Burko's aerial images of glaciers and icebergs from eastern Greenland
and northern Norway included here disrupt the experiential space-time
continuum of documentary photography through their close-up, fragmentary,
or disembodied perspectives. Her painterly compositions and interest
in the natural chiaroscuro of Arctic light and shadow interpret the
changing landscape in new ways that require close looking at patterns
Burko was introduced to aerial photography by the conceptual artist
James Turrell in the New Mexico desert in the late 1970s. Since then,
she has used her own photography – from the air and on foot – in the
way 19th century landscape painters painted en-plein-air, to capture
the effects of light and shadow in color. She has also borrowed
scientists' photographic documentation of numerous glaciers and ice
flows to use as source material.
Burko's work in this exhibition is a fusion of her painterly and
photographic visions. All the photographs come from a recent expedition
she made to the High Arctic while accompanying a Norwegian glaciologist
measuring ice core samples. The paintings are all based on photographs
taken by both the artist and two scientists she befriended, as well as
NASA satellite imagery, all of one massive, 46-square-mile-large iceberg
that had broken off from Petermann Glacier in Greenland and was tracked
by NASA on its journey to the north Atlantic.
Only aerial photography can capture the enormity and overall form of a
particular glacier. Photographing from a small helicopter used by
glaciologists in northern Norway, Burko's lower elevation hovering over
the "tongue" of the Kronebreen Glacier reveals the abstraction of lines
created by crevasses and the depth of these mountains of ice. A composite
of photographic moments in time taken one afternoon in September allows us
to peer down into glacial time while suspended above in real, human time.
The square format of the prints further removes our physical identification
with the landscape subject, offering us "macro" patterns and "micro" textures
simultaneously. Like records kept by an explorer, these photographs are imbued
with her own memories of encounters with glacial forms, "terrain," she says,
"that embodies the history of our planet."
Download the press release >