Photographic Project Grants From American-Scandinavian and Puffin Foundation included in Exhibition in Rockaway Curated by Larry Ossei-Mensah
Indeed--the connection between Greenland and Queens? One is a remote island-nation covered in a 2,000 mile ice sheet, population 55,000; the other is part of the North American Eastern Seaboard megalopolis, population of Queens 2.3 million.
But both are extremely susceptible to changes in climate and are greatly impacted by melting glaciers (Greenland) and flooding, such as hurricane Sandy in 2012 (Broad Channel, Rockaway, New York City).
Standing on the shore of Jamaica Bay was odd: the stillness, sandy paths, and trees was punctuated by thrusting jets overhead from nearby JFK, the new World Trade Center profile seen through the weeds, or the “A” train seemingly skimming over the bay. These moments were lyrical and poetic, including subtle references to artificial light of the City and the damage, capturing the haunting beauty of the place.
When traveling to Greenland with help from an American-Scandinavian Foundation travel grant, the goal was to get beyond just didactic documentation: these photographs crystallize a feeling of inertia taking place in the primordial landscape there.
As the raw land is exposed through melting glacial ice--as if a cultural truth is being unearthed--I feel there is a link between environment and culture. Just as traditional life seems to be quiety abandoned in a churning retreat, so too is present day ice melting mostly forgotten. In both cases, there is a feeling of absence, impending human failure, tragedy, and the crushing force of nature being played out in a desolate place. I want to capture the immensity of the space in ethereal light, revealing both a lyrical beauty and inexorable horror in it’s destruction. I wanted to photograph this feeling of loss, discovery and change.
Three photographs from these recent series are included in the show, “Culture of One,” curated by Larry Ossei-Mensah, who recently organized the Elizabeth Dee Gallery exhibition, “Selections by Larry Ossei-Mensah,” at their new Uptown space (he also is co-founder of ARTNOIR).