This project charts a journey made by ship through the Antarctic Convergence to the ice landscape of the Peninsula and resulted in a new body of work: Antarctica, Drawings, shown in Berlin and the UK. Supported by an Arts Council England (South West) Individual Artist Award and a private sponsor, this work is the result of investigations into landscapes that place a perspective on the viewer. The drawings engage with the notion of ‘encounter’, with the viewer’s gaze often fixed on an unstable horizon; the work also addresses a sense of flux within landscape, the persistent flow from glacier to berg creating ever changing sculptural forms.
The drawing process is central to the project of work. Through experimenting with different drawing approaches, media and supports I aim to observe something strange in the visual world. The Poles offer a disorientating landscape with few reference points. The spectacular ice landscape is ephemeral and fleeting, the act of drawing is also a kind of psychological immersion.
The work seeks to express the fragility of this pristine environment; this is a landscape in change, an environment under threat. Reflecting the interdisciplinary research dimensions of the project the Bristol exhibition was complemented by a panel discussion involving the artist, Emma Stibbon, Dr Giles Brown (Glaciologist), Professor Vala Ragnarsdottir (Professor of Environmental Sustainability, Bristol University) and Sandie Macrae (Director, R O O M).
Antarctica, Drawings, was presented in three solo exhibitions at upstairs berlin, Berlin, Rabley Drawing Centre, Wiltshire, and R O O M. Bristol, accompanied by a publication Antarctica. The exhibitions were critically well received, articles include:
Other Venue showing Antarctica, Drawings:
"Emma Stibbon’s mesmeric work has an emotional charge – not tilting against beauty but evoking the pathos of the sublime. The silvery quality of the surface of the work suggests the tonal values of some lost photographic technique…showing the visually overwhelming experience of an utterly remote place."
(Sandie Macrae, Director R O O M, Bristol, December 2006)
"Due to Stibbon’s elaborate drawings we are taken on an epic voyage across Antarctica which we would probably never have undertaken in real life. Highlighted by the silvery quality of the surface and faint touches of light blue and rose tones, Stibbon captures…the prismatic glow."
(Stephan Biesenbach, catalogue introduction for Antarctica, upstairs berlin 2007)