Antarctica: Layers of Time, Beautiful Monsters

Artist: Hugh Conacher
In the three weeks Hugh spent in the Antarctic, he captured over 10,000 images of mountains and ice and animals and rust. Although the editing process was ongoing, it wasn’t until he returned home that he fully realized what he had experienced. In the Antarctic, time stands still; scale is incomprehensible. The luminosity of this mountainous environment is extraordinary – light behaves differently there. Colours are more intense than imagined, and the natural environment appears to be monochromatic.

The Arctic and Antarctic are preeminent teachers of the play of light and sculptural form. The artist experiences and learns from a range of light-related phenomena, weather, and form in the Polar Regions. It is an experience not seen anywhere else in the world. The complex refraction of light through icebergs and ice blisters, the vastness of ancient ice fields that produce feelings of the diminutiveness of human life and of the sublime. The environment is not simply a setting, not simply the lights and set for the main action; it is the primary drama – the visual storyteller.

This exhibition consists of sixteen photographic images, designed to be shown as diptychs. Each diptych requires six and a half feet of wall space and, ideally, two feet between each. Exhibited in a linear fashion, the total wall space is approximately sixty-eight running feet. It can expand or contract to suit the venue. Unfortunately, nowadays many people see photography on a small screen via the Internet. Antarctica: Layers of Time, Beautiful Monsters affords the opportunity to see images in a form that allows the viewer to really consider their content. They want to spend time with each image, closely examine its detail, step away to consider the whole, and then step in- again.