See the creation of one of the world’s leading contemporary artists, John Grade, at Murmur: Arctic Realities, at Mystic Seaport now through April 22nd.
Using salvaged Alaskan yellow cedar, Grade has created an intricately carved sculpture (15’ x 38’ x 42’) that represents a pingo, a hill of ice that grows over centuries in the Arctic’s highest latitudes, then collapses, pockmarking the tundra. This sculpture simulates a pingo in Alaska’s Noatak National Preserve, mapped by the artist using photogrammetry. Visitors will not only witness the pingo’s impressive scale, but will be able to enter inside the sculpture as its walls open and close, mimicking the pingo’s life cycle.
The exhibition is being staged in collaboration with Anchorage Museum, where it will permanently reside following its tour. Grade first became aware of pingos when he traveled to the Alaskan Arctic three years ago as part of Anchorage Museum’s Polar Lab residency for artists. Grade used a team of 20 artisans over a five-month period in his Seattle studio to create the sculpture. It will take a crew of eight to install it in the Collins Gallery of the Thompson Exhibition Building, including a mechanical engineer.
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