Tavares Strachan: The Distance Between What We Have and What We Want (Arctic Ice Project)
April 30–September 13, 2009
In 2005, Tavares Strachan journeyed to the Alaskan Arctic and worked with a skilled team to extract a single two-and-a-half-ton piece of ice from a frozen river. This ice block was shipped to the Bahamas (the artist’s birthplace) and exhibited there in summer weather, kept cold in a specially designed freezer powered by solar energy. The very same block of ice and cooling system are now on view here in Brooklyn.
The act of transporting refrigerated Arctic ice to his childhood home is the artist’s response, in part, to his experiences as a child, when he found the idea of landscapes of snow and ice almost impossible to comprehend. The work suggests the interdependency of two extremes—the sun’s heat in a tropical climate keeps a piece of the frozen Arctic intact. At the same time, Arctic Ice Project alludes to a number of environmental and social issues, including the realities of climate change, our sense of what is valuable, and the immigrant’s experience of displacement. The path of the ice block—which went from the Bahamas to Miami to Brooklyn—parallels that of many new Americans of Caribbean origin.