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Queens Chronicle

‘Thaw’ breaks through some of the ice

Dorsky Gallery explores climate change effects through art

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Posted: Thursday, January 23, 2014 10:30 am

The effects of climate change have generated debate for some time now but 11 artists sought out the most drastically changing parts of the world to see the transformations for themselves.

Their findings were made into art and are now on view at the Dorsky Gallery in Long Island City.

The tiny exhibit features 23 drawings, paintings, photographs, collages, sculptures and videos that address different aspects of Earth’s “natural but forced transformation, hinting at the potential scientific and geopolitical effects in the wake of ongoing natural disasters.”

Inspiration for the exhibit came after NASA released satellite images in 2012 that showed the thaw of Earth’s northern icecap was detectable over as short a time span as several days.

The agency called the thaw a localized phenomenon that was evident over the entirety of Greenland’s ice cover. The warming responsible for this thaw may shut down the Gulf Stream, the warm current that traverses the Atlantic Ocean and drives the predictable rhythms of most of Earth’s climate, it said.

The 11 artists went on fact-finding expeditions around the world, including Cape Breton, Newfoundland and the Gobi Desert in Asia, and presented their visual predictions of what will become of the planet if climate change continues.

For a project that required artists to submerse themselves so far into unfamiliar environments, not many of the pieces display the amount of depth one might expect to come out of such a long journey.

Many of the pieces are decent and it is obvious that all of the artists possess talent but there wasn’t much exploration and it was difficult to be emotionally moved by much of the exhibit.

There are exceptions: Blane De St. Croix’s piece “Everglade Forest Fires” was a clear standout.

The collage involves limited supplies —archival ink jet prints, ink on paper mounted on canvas — but the detailed and textured design is a beautiful portrayal of the sheer destruction a forest fire can cause.

His sculpture “Nomadic Landscape,” which uses natural materials from the Gobi Desert, is also a standout in the gallery’s collection.

Elizabeth Jordan’s piece “Looking for a Way Out” is a fantastically chaotic miniature sculpture of fish trapped behind a straight pin fence. Her second piece, "The Moon Grazing Hare," is also good.

Itty Neuhaus’ imagined environment below an ice cap is one of the larger installations.

The piece, entitled “Understory,” is a fabric-enclosed cocoon that features a video installation juxtaposing the depth of the ocean with the sky.

It is beautifully done without being over the top.

Janet Biggs has a more traditional piece entitled “Fade to White.” The 12-minute video follows through the icebergs of the Arctic an explorer who only escapes the ice when he boards the ship he inhabits.

Vicki DaSilva’s piece “Anthropocene” is a bit lackluster. The high-definition video loop with sound uses a camera with slow shutter speed picking up the light used by one of her assistants to spell the word “anthropocene,”meaning Age of Man.

The cave in the background is lit beautifully but the letters get in the way of it.

While “Thaw” may not go as deep as it could have, the exhibit is worth a visit for the works of Neuhaus, Biggs, De St. Croix and Jordan which utilize the environment they surrounded themselves with for an extended period of time in such a way that the art they have produced needs little to no explanation. They stand well on their own.

When: Thursday to Monday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., through April 6
Where: Dorsky Gallery, 11-03 45 Ave.,Long Island City

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