In this age of ubiquitous digital manipulation, it’s easy not to trust what we’re seeing. When I first saw works by the pastel artist Zaria Forman, I was a bit confused–these are photographs, aren’t they? Well, I thought, maybe it’s that I’m seeing relatively small photos of very large works. Perhaps they look a lot more like pastel drawings up close.
My second double-take had to do with this photo:
I’m use to seeing an artist rough things out on the page or canvas, work first here, then there, then go back and add detail. The picture above looked to me like it was staged. But there’s a time-lapse video of the artist at work, and apparently this is how it really comes together. In fact, she does tend to rough out large shapes, and then work within each one, so maybe my preconception isn’t entirely wrong. Whatever her working method, these pictures are remarkable.
Forman is doing more than creating works of art, though. She aims to help people understand the fragility of Antarctic ice formations that are melting at an unprecedented rate. We may think of global warming as something that’s happening far away, but her incredibly realistic drawings can help us to imagine ourselves next to them, and perhaps to better understand the rapidly changing land/seascape.
Here’s the time-lapse video I mentioned:
Find out more at the Colossal article where I first learned of her work, and at zariaforman.com.