Voyage to Antarctica Series

“Voyage to Antarctica” Series Artist Statement

‘Argo’, ‘ZeroDarkThirty’, ‘Lincoln’ : all were condemned for inserting fiction into the real. We feel cheated.

say: a documentary is something else, it intends a different experience. Precision, facts, impartiality. But a work intended as art is another thing entirely: a projection of the artist’s psyche, emotion presented, sometimes raw, sometimes guarded, a panorama of impressions carefully placed to evoke response.
Up to the creator to decide how close you, the viewer will be to the object depicted: Mona Lisa surely was meant to be seen as a close likeness- except the painter inserted that faint smile, that sliver of distance, a particular emotion so palpably present that it is still discussed after five centuries. De Chirico, chilling and so vibrant, plays with us: a peaceful cityscape? at first sight maybe- but now: dread! Other artists isolate themselves, barricaded behind abstraction, indirection. What was ‘American Pie’ really about? And why did we immediately feel its depth?

For this series, I present illusion. The illusion of filtered light, of narrow tonal differences made important in the sere landscape of Antarctica, where no more than four animal species make their home. I hope you perceive the illusion of vastness, of Ice both solid and about to melt, of white-outs , howling winds, and immense loneliness. But also of swirling waters still pristine, where penguins sport, of morning sun, in the good months, grazing the ice; of the many, many shades of glacier blue. There may not be, in the pieces presented, anything like that blue, but if my task is well done, you will feel the blue, the water, the wind, the ice, the sun, the permanent emptiness of a land where humans do not dwell except as impermanent visitors or semi-permanent researchers.

After Paul Alfille, my son, spent an austral summer in Antarctica, capturing Weddell seals for medical research, his pictures revealed to me a universe of beauty and tragedy. The thought has been with me more than 20 years, and has inspired this special series: Voyage to Antarctica.

-Eve J. Alfille

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