Sculptures by visiting artist Michael Williams are on display in Gallery 130 in Meek Hall from Monday, February 29th – Thursday, March 31st. 8am-5pm M-F.
Thursday, March 31
Gallery 130, Meek Hall
Reception to follow lecture.
This body of work represents my love and exploration of the ever-changing natural world. Over the past twelve years, my influences have come from the diverse landscapes of central Alaska and southern Louisiana. Far apart geographically and distinctly different in climate, there are interesting parallels between the two.
My draw to the wilderness has led me to the receding glaciers of Alaska and the subsiding saltwater marshes of Louisiana. These two places are now drastically changing due to actions taken many years ago.
Undoubtedly, our climate is changing, whether it is through man’s influence or through natural cycles. As the metric tons of ice melt away from the Alaska Range this changes the landscape. As more soil is exposed and heated, the process is hastened during the next year. As the ice melts from the shrinking polar ice cap, this raises sea level and thereby impacts far away coastlines around the world.
In Louisiana, coastlines are changing due to this sea level rise, in combination with locally accelerated land subsidence. Levees have succeeded in keeping the Mississippi River within its banks, but the lack of a spring flood has deprived the swamps and marshes of annual silt deposits which historically built the land. Oil and gas exploration created hundreds of miles of canals that cut through the landscape. These levees and canals have caused the massive erosion and subsidence problem that faces the Louisiana coast today.
I have witnessed first hand the melting of glaciers as they recede and the disappearance of marsh islands as they are worn away by erosion and subsidence. This body of work represents my experiences in these vastly different but closely related places. In my lifetime, I will continue to see devastating changes to the landscapes I love to explore. I have no doubt we are witnessing an intermediate phase on a global scale, and we will be forced to persevere through the consequences in the decades to come.