Polar-region photographs keep summer "Cool"


June 2, 2015

                                                    Large-format photographs detail drama of polar regions

                If Antarctica were music it would be Mozart. Art, and it would be Michelangelo. Literature, and it would be Shakespeare.
                And yet it is something even greater; the only place on earth that is still as it should be.

                                             --Andrew Denton

The serene, contemplative, even surreal beauty of nature at its most awe inspiring is at the core of Sam Krisch’s photographs from the Antarctica, Iceland, and Greenland, on display at the Allentown Art Museum from June 14 through October 11, 2015. The exhibition Above Zero: Photographs from the Polar Regions by Sam Krisch is part of the Museum’s “Summer of Cool Culture,” which includes free admission to all exhibitions through September 6. Free admission is sponsored by Alvin H. Butz Inc. and the Gadomski Foundation.

Above Zero is as much about Kirsch’s photographic processes and his ability to see as it is about the beauty in ice and the extremes of nature. Working with, predominantly, a digital Canon camera, the raw data collected by the camera does not necessarily record Krisch’s experience while photographing. Each image is constructed through Photoshop and Lightroom to get closer to the photographer’s personal experience. Examples of the progression of images from the raw data to the final work is included in the exhibition.

Since 2011, Krisch has been focused on the creation of a body of work in distant, often inhospitable lands rarely seen by the human eye. In the work he brings back from his photographic journeys one sees the majesty of nature in almost idyllic terms. Stark but poetic, the monumentality of the ice formations lies in contrast to the silence of the surrounding waters and their ability to dwarf all other forms of nature near them.

Throughout history, artists, writers, and poets have looked to water as a metaphor for travel, for the cleansing of the soul, for the desire for change, and for the beginnings of an odyssey. In the Krisch images, however, there is a quiet permanence and stillness that belies the nature of the arctic environment and its transitory and fragile status. Seen in this exhibition without the protection of glass so as to be able to see the sumptuous nature of the artist’s printing, the images have a meditative beauty that does not address the political and scientific discussions as to their future.

Above Zero: Photographs from the Polar Regions is supported by the Audrey and Bernard Berman Endowment Fund, the Leon C. and June W. Holt Endowment, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the members and Trustees of the Museum.

Media Contact: Chris Potash
                            (610) 432-4333, ext 125
                            cpotash [at] allentownartmuseum [dot] org