"This painting references an archival photograph of the Black Glacier taken in 1970. Archival images help show how a glacier has changed over time. Like many people, I have never been to the Olympics, so I had limited context for understanding this landscape's present-day form. So instead of painting the glacier as it looks in 2023, I decided to use the 1970 photograph as a window into a time and place we can no longer experience firsthand. Painting the photograph on a larger scale was a way to bring the relatively small, black-and-white, low-resolution image to life. I honored the composition and lighting of the original photo and used geospatial imagery and current photographs to better understand the color and shape of the underlying geology. This project was an exercise in thinking backwards in time while contributing to a future archive." -Klara Maisch
Meet the artist: Klara Maisch
Klara lives and works in Alaska. She skis, hikes, and paddles into remote regions to paint on location throughout the seasons. Direct experiences with the physical forces that shape a landscape inform her work. She is currently focused on imagery depicting wildland fires, permafrost thaw, glacial recession, and shifts in vegetation and treeline in Arctic and Boreal regions.
More about the Black Glacier
The Black is a steep and heavily crevassed glacier on Mount Olympus which is sandwiched between the Blue and White Glaciers. Its name derives from layers of debris and silt that are deposited on its surface. In the 1940's it was often referred to as the Mud Glacier! Reference arrows illustrate some thinning and retreat of both the Black (left with debris-covered terminus) and White (right) glaciers.
Last updated: July 14, 2023