October 15, 2014
Last summer, the Anchorage Museum brought Seattle artist John Grade to Alaska as part of Polar Lab. Grade drove the Dalton Highway from Fairbanks to Deadhorse, flew deep into Gates of the Arctic National Park and paddled 80 miles down the Noatak River to draw, photograph and make casts of trees.
He explored ideas around northern climate by studying pingos, mounds of earth-covered ice found in the Arctic and subarctic. Because pingos form under specific conditions, they can indicate climate change. Their presence on the tundra is dramatic.
“Having the opportunity to experience this Arctic landscape and compare its nuances and gradual changes was amazing,” says Grade. “Even weeks after returning, I still wake up from dreams of moving along on the river and across the expanse of tussocks toward a rising pingo. I don’t think I have ever been so profoundly moved by a landscape before.”
His resulting work will appear in a Polar Lab exhibition in 2016.
The Anchorage Museum’s Polar Lab brings artists to Alaska and the Circumpolar North and encourages them to use their work to bridge cultures and borders as they explore life in the North.