exhibitions—highlights
exhibitions highlights

On the Arctic Edge — Artists Explore the Far North Marion Belanger, Clare Benson & Steve Giovinco

10-22-2022 through 1-28-2023
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Steve Giovinco, Untitled (#8709, Greenland), 2022 (detail)

SAT—October 22, 2022 THROUGH SAT—January 28, 2023

TUE-SAT—12–6 PM, free

Opening October 22 at Scandinavia House, On the Arctic Edge — Artists Explore the Far North presents three contemporary photo-based artists whose work traverses the regions of the Arctic Circle to probe themes ranging from time and memory, to landscape and the built environment, to science and mythology, to our changing climate: Marion Belanger, Clare Benson, and Steve Giovinco. Each artist is an ASF Fellow having received financial support from the American-Scandinavian Foundation from funds donated by Scandinavian Seminar.

Photographer and Interdisciplinary artist Clare Benson’s series Until There Is No Sun is a poetic investigation of the Arctic’s duality: the relationships between light and seeing, earth and sky, science and ancient myth. Over the span of nearly a year living in the far north of Arctic Sweden, Benson worked alongside space physicists, Sami indigenous reindeer herders, and scientist studying the eyes of Arctic reindeer to capture photographs, videos, and collected artifacts, exploring how weather and time have worn and carved a world that slowly turns its back to the light. Included in the exhibition, the video work A Thousand Suns is a time-lapse capture of images made by an All-Sky Camera looking up through the roof of the Swedish Institute for Space Physics (IRF) in Kiruna. Photographs on view include her Seasonal Adaptations in the Eyes of Arctic Reindeer, which portray how Arctic reindeer adapt to extreme changes in sunlight through a shift in their tapetum lucidum, a mirror-like tissue behind the retina. 

Marion Belanger photographs the cultural landscape, particularly where geology and the built environment intersect, exploring concepts of persistence and change and ways that boundaries demarcate differences. A recipient of awards including a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, whose photographs are included in many permanent collections including the Library of Congress, her series Rift/Fault studies shifting land-based tectonic edges of the North American Continental Plate in Iceland and California. 

Examining their unpredictable and uncontainable behavior — immune to any human efforts of control — Belanger’s series pairs images from the Mid-Atlantic Rift in Iceland with those captured along the San Andreas Fault, allowing for a dialogue between the wild and the contained, the fertile and the barren, the geologic and the human, in a way that questions the uneasy relationship between geological force, and the limits of human enterprise. Published in the 2017 monograph Rift/Fault (Radius Books), author and art critic Lucy Lippard writes in her introduction that Belanger “comments on the visible and the invisible, acknowledgement and denial, examining, in the process, the ‘dangerous disconnect,’ where so-called ordinary lives play out in the shadows of potential cataclysm.”

NYC-based fine-art photographer Steve Giovinco’s lyrical night landscapes in the recent series Inertia look at the land, ice, and communities of Southern Greenland. An MFA graduate from Yale University School of Art whose work is collected by museums including the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Giovinco traveled to locations including Narsarsuaq, a small remote town lying in the shadow of glaciers, to capture vast scarred landscapes; shrinking icebergs and ice floes; desolate villages; and four hundred-year-old Norse ruins; all marked with minimal traces of human intervention. Photographed through the hours of changing light at dawn, twilight, or nighttime the vistas are haunted, luminous, magical and at times devastating.

Each artist is an ASF Fellow having received financial support from the American-Scandinavian Foundation, which since it began over a century ago has awarded over 5,500 fellowships and grants to Americans and Scandinavians. This exhibition is made possible due to the generosity of the Inger G. & William B. Ginsberg Support Fund, the Virginia Barron Tayloe Bequest, the Bonnier Family Fund for Contemporary Art and the Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation.

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