(SOUTH BEND – SEPTEMBER 2017) The Notre Dame Center for Arts and Culture is excited to open its newest exhibition space, the Lower Level Gallery with THAW a unique exhibition featuring artists Adam Fung, Amy Sacksteder, and Lucas Korte on Thursday, September 21. THAW features paintings, drawings, and projected works from the artists touching on the divergent consequences of the Anthropocene and climate change.
The premise of THAW, according to the artists, is that climate change poses challenges not just to the structure and nature of our economy and our political institutions, but to our very ways of thinking about the world. Operating at scales that can’t be perceived by any one individual, and involving so many unimagined parts of our planetary ecosystem and economic activities, thinking about climate change, attempting to grasp its meaning, puts our conventional understandings of the planet and our relationship with it into question. We can no longer believe that the world is a limitless place, always capable of supporting human needs and endless growth. At the same time, we can no longer believe that human ingenuity and technology will provide simple solutions and straightforward control of our surroundings.
The changing face of the planet, its shifting coastlines, receding ice sheets, larger and more powerful storm systems, wildfires, droughts, conflicts, mass migration, and mass extinctions speak to the slow ‘weirding’ of the world we’ve taken ourselves to inhabit. As these changes proliferate and accelerate, we’re forced to understand ourselves located within larger systems, realizing that the consequences of planet-scale human activity reach incredibly far, and are not easily predictable in advance. The concept of the Anthropocene seems to suggest that we may be unable to maintain a conventional picture of the human being itself, as our presence on the planet becomes more and more geological and climatological in its impacts.
THAW brings together three artists, each of whom approaches the problems and questions of global warming and the Anthropocene from different perspectives. Adam Fung focuses on the image of Antarctic and Arctic ice, invoking a sense of the shrinking iceberg as both ominous messenger of things to come and ghostly reminder of the ephemerality of an environment we had assumed to be stable and unchanging. His short film, The Uncommon , shot in 2016 in the Arctic Circle using drones, extends this sense of loss, dread, fascination, alienation, and desire by taking us to one place where we can record and bear witness to the advance of global warming.
Amy Sacksteder invites us to contemplate the disparate scales and customs of representation by which climate change comes to be understood. Through her drawings and paintings, a sense of transience emerges, in which humans are always struggling to both record the changes in their world and to keep up with the massiveness and geologic rate of those changes. Her images leave us feeling as though we must put together the pieces as best we can, scientific, aesthetic, historical, and cultural.
Lucas Korte is fascinated by the questions global warming raises about the nature of the material world we live in. His paintings and drawings depict a fractured, unstable cosmos in which matter is constantly on the move; acting, reacting, eroding itself away and building itself back up. His images attempt to create a sense of Earthly geology (and perhaps unearthly geology, registering the growing strangeness of the planet) as a locus of profusion, acceleration, and unpredictability, with humans brought into intimate and anonymous complicity with these unstable systems.
Putting these three artists in dialogue, THAW asks viewers to lose themselves in this geologic frame, larger than themselves, just for a moment--to become aware of the planetary scale of global warming, and to feel the planet as a thing, capable of unimagined actions and reactions, more than just a place.
A public artist talk by Korte and a reception will be held on Thursday, September 21 at 5:30 PM. Light refreshments will be served.
This exhibition is organized by the Notre Dame Center for Arts & Culture, Lower Level Gallery. For further information on any of the artists exhibitions, publications, and images see the following websites for each.
ABOUT THE NOTRE DAME CENTER FOR ARTS & CULTURE
With four University of Notre Dame departments working together, in 2013, after renovating the former Children’s Dispensary, the NDCAC opened its doors to the public. Highlights include the Segura Arts Studio, a collaborative printmaking studio occupying the former gymnasium; and former patient rooms transformed into the Crossroads Gallery. From the programming offered for all ages with Educational Programming and the Office of Community Relations to lectures and exhibitions from artists visiting the Crossroads Gallery, new Lower Level Gallery, and the Segura Arts Studio, there is something for everyone at the NDCAC.