ArtView May 2015 - Page 36

Prussian blue waters, ice pillows, frozen earth, and an omnipresent moon. I have just returned from an expedition to the High Arctic as part of my plan to paint all of the oceans on the planet. Now I only have one more to go, the Antarctic. I sailed to the Arctic on a 3-masted tall ship with the Arctic Circle, an expeditionary program that puts scientists and artists together to explore the High Arctic. We started in Longyearbyen, which is the northernmost settlement on the planet, in the archipelago of Svalbard, an international territory north of Norway. From there we sailed to nearly 80 degrees north, just below the permanent ice that covers the North Pole. September/October is about the only time boats can get that far north. The rest of the year the permanent ice coming from the North Pole covers that part of the Arctic Ocean so boats aren’t able to go any further. One of my great passions is exploring the ‘line’ between abstraction and representation in visual art. I turn representational subject matter (notably water) into abstract, formal paintings. Now I am painting the most abstract waterscape I have ever seen. For my Arctic Ocean series I am faced with a natural waterscape unlike anything I have witnessed before. Normally, I deconstruct the physical forms found in water to create stacks of abstracted rhythms. In this case, the Arctic Ocean already looks abstract before I’ve had a chance to deconstruct it. My work is formal, abstract. I paint shapes and patterns inspired by ripples and wavelets on the surface of water. For