Terminus: Elkhorn Glacier by Amory Abbott

a decorative line divider with curled ends and a snowflake at the center.
A detailed charcoal drawing of a glacier below a rocky peak.
Title: Elkhorn
Medium: Charcoal on Somerset Satin paper
Dimensions: 26 x 40 inches
Year: 2023

"In this unprecedented age of disconnection from the living world and our simultaneous exploitation of its resources, we are losing our collective memory with our physical relationship to the land, and further losing the ecological foundations of our planet. Here, now, we see the mountains mined, forest burning, and glaciers melting before our eyes. Much of my practice is directed at the topic of grief and how it might be experienced through landscape, both for the loss of places and ecosystems, but also as a metaphor for an internal landscape– a dark night of the soul, so to speak. So with that symbolic sense of loss and necessary grieving, I approached the Terminus project and specifically Elkhorn Glacier with a dirge, or balladic eulogy in mind. So many memorials take into account what legacy someone or something leaves behind, as well as bear witness to the upending of the familiarity of their presence, and the wake of change to follow. For Elkhorn, we need only look downstream, to the countless ecosystems it nourishes to see the trees, plants, and animals sustained by its slow and consistent flow. From the peaks of the Bailey Range to the Pacific Ocean, the Hoh River is fed by Elkhorn's tributary. The glacier's disappearance will precipitate innumerable changes in the life and lives around its base and along its banks. It's heartbreaking, yet beautiful in a dark and sublime kind of way. Perhaps Elkhorn will form again in the next ice age, when humans have moved on or passed beyond as well. Maybe this is a drawing of that place in time, after us and what we've brought upon this world. Maybe this is a drawing of what we barely have still and will one day miss dearly. Either way, the beauty persists. As the poet Robinson Jeffers once wrote of the wild rocks and cliffs around him: 'The beauty of things was born before eyes, and sufficient to itself; the heartbreaking beauty will remain when there is no heart to break for it.' " -Amory Abbott
a decorative line divider with curled ends and a snowflake at the center.

Meet the artist: Amory Abbott

Amory Abbott is a visual artist, illustrator, author, and educator living in Vancouver, British Columbia where he teaches illustration at Emily Carr University. His creative practice addresses social and ecological issues related to landscape, reflecting on the consequence and aftermath of climate change, resource extraction, and other human ecological impacts. Using darkness as an overarching theme, Amory's drawings depict landscapes undergoing cataclysmic change, imagining melancholy, fantastical places where ancient cycles of growth and renewal have been broken, lost, or forgotten.

You can see more art from Amory here on his website, and here on Instagram.

Above a forested mountainside, glacial ice hugs a rocky ridgeline.

More about Elkhorn Glacier

Elkhorn Glacier is a small niche glacier located in the headwaters of Elkhorn Creek, in a remote section of the Bailey Range. The glacial meltwaters that form Elkhorn Creek flow into the Hoh River, passing through rainforest to lower elevations to finally meet the Pacific Ocean at Oil City, on the Hoh Indian Reservation.

a decorative line divider with curled ends and a snowflake at the center.

Last updated: April 5, 2023

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