Saturday, January 18, 2014

Out of Ice

Last Saturday The Independent had an 'In the Studio' feature on Scottish environmental artist Elizabeth Ogilvie and found her 'experimenting with blocks of melting ice suspended over a small pool, to be shown near to projections of glaciers in her forthcoming show.'  Today we went to see this exhibition, Out of Ice, and spent some time watching the dripping ice, lit by theatre lights so as to create beautiful ripples and waves on the surrounding walls (as you can see from my photographs below).  By this afternoon there were only a few of these blocks left unmelted and two actually splashed down into the water whilst we were there (when I heard the first one go behind me, I looked back expecting to see one of our sons in the water...)  The exhibition also includes footage on four screens of Inuits the artist met on a trip to Northern Greenland, talking about the impact of climate change.  Under the circumstances these were a bit harder to engage with - it was actually difficult to drag ourselves away from the main installation as we waited in hope of another block falling.  I found myself thinking that there must be a sad beauty in the way ice is changing as it retreats, in spite of the environmental damage it signifies.

Another reason to visit today was an enjoyable wind drawing workshop for kids, run by Katie Fowlie with Jacob Bee and Rob St. John (whose music I have referred to here before).  Sadly it was confined to the interior of the exhibition space, underneath the University of Westminster, and so wind had to be generated by vigorous use of a fan.  This resulted in a kind of expressionist action drawing which it would be interesting to compare to something generated by the swirls and eddies of 'real' breezes. I had thought we might be using contraptions like Chris Welsby's Wind Vane, only with pens and paper rather than a film camera.  In fact various types of writing sculpture had been built and our boys both went for a feather-based approach.  It inspired me to to try something similar outdoors next time we all go to Epping Forest, although as we left the boys were more interested in building a recreation of Elizabeth Ogilvie's installation, with slowly melting ice cubes suspended over a tray of water.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a powerful experience all round. I love the brilliant simplicity of the artist's concept: conjuring up beauty and real dread in the same moment.