Tavares Strachan's Arctic Ice Project
The Distance Between What We Have and What We Want (Arctic Ice Project), 2004-06
Preview Date: Dec. 5th, 5–8pm
Dec. 6–10, 2006
(11am–8pm, except Sun, 11am–4pm)
2010 North Miami Ave (between 20th / 21st St)
Pierogi Gallery and Ronald Feldman Fine Arts are pleased to present the exhibition of Tavares Strachan's The Distance Between What We Have and What We Want (Arctic Ice Project) in the Wynnwood section of Miami, FL, opening December 5th, 2006 (5-8pm).
In March 2005 Strachan traveled to the Alaskan Arctic in search of a frozen river. Within several days he located one under the Arctic Circle. With the help of a skilled team, he cut into the frozen water to extract a 4.5 ton portion. This block of ice was shipped to Nassau, Bahamas for exhibition in July 2006, an extremely hot summer month in the Bahamas. While on exhibition, the ice sits in a glass freezer, which derives its power from a solar energy system. In effect, the power of the sun keeps this remnant of the Arctic intact, stable, and on view. After the exhibition in Miami the work will travel for further exhibitions.
Strachan's work in general, and the Arctic Ice Project in particular, touches on many different issues: environmental, geographical, social, cultural, and historical. Perhaps the most obvious reference is environmental, relating to global warming and the recent recognition (or denial) of current and potential climactic changes—the reality and the politics of global warming. Geographically and culturally, the work references multiple levels of displacement that draw on human experience. Socially, Strachan has been working to involve communities of school children in the Bahamas through lectures, the tradition of oral story telling, and performances. The act of retracing this expedition is a way of imbedding this arctic experience into the imagination of the community. Using phenomena as a vehicle, this project involves systems of myth, and the products of these experiences are the basis for Strachan’s new works that will be incorporated into later exhibitions.
In this work, Strachan suggests that opposites, or extremes, are actually necessary for each other's survival. Ice on the surface of the Arctic Regions helps to maintain the Earth's warm climate, and heat helps keep ice frozen. "The gist of the project is to actually bring the frozen north and the hot tropics into contact, to demonstrate that they are contrasting halves of a single entity, and to then utilize the heat and light energy of the South to maintain the exact opposite condition of sub-zero temperatures. The first part of the project is about the conceptual notion of ice and heat as the poles of our environment; the second part is about the miracles of technology, which can use one extreme of temperature to produce the other." (Richard Benson: Dean, Yale University and School of Art)
This project also proposes a battle against the effects of entropy. It is a displacement that references the work of Robert Smithson, Gordon Matta Clark, and more recently Ólafur Elíasson in an April 2006 exhibition. Strachan's ideas go beyond the forcible displacement of the ice to a remote location, however. He is concerned with how physical space displacement changes our reality. From sculpting an invisible cube of heat, or listening to the sound of an ant walking, to re-creating the light conditions of one part of the world in another, Strachan's propositions are engrossed with the presence of things physically missing or immediately distant. What is physically present becomes dematerialized and reappears as a collision between technology and the natural world.
Tavares Strachan was born in the Bahamas. He holds a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and an MFA from Yale University.
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