Cynthia Camlin’s “Cracked Prospects,” currently exhibiting at Punch Gallery, explores glacial landscapes through watercolor and a uniquely geometric style. Camlin abstracts images of remote ice-fields, imbuing each work with a transparent quality and a sense of natural flow while also referring to “geological and mathematical pattern.” Camlin’s defined structural forms and soft colors simply capture the viewer. The work in “Cracked Prospects” is a variation on her past style, as it demonstrates similar themes and relationships but here is applied to a more allover, abstracted landscape style.
Camlin’s Subglacial 1 uses the watercolor aesthetic to create a glacial landscape that appears inhospitable but is warmed by color and form. Subglacial 1 is divided into three registers. The top portion is dominated by soft grey, an atmospheric sky. The middle register is filled by sections of dripping greens and teals—an artic expanse of ocean and land. Cracking geometric lines—like sheets of ice as they break off—delineate the bottom of the piece. Although the pieces can be read as purely abstracted forms or a cosmic game of Tetris, the horizontality of the canvas and unobstructed lines lead viewers to see them as landscapes.
Each piece in “Cracked Prospects” has a clear individuality, but follows a unified aesthetic that was reminiscent of Rockwell Kent’s work. Kent’s glacial landscapes from the 1940s and ‘50s were representational, whereas Camlin’s are abstract, but in the work of both artists these remote landscapes assume a peaceful, almost mystical quality. At a time when there is growing concern and heated debate about the disappearance of these landscapes, the layered and complex work of “Cracked Prospects” reveal a world that demands our attention without commentary—just sublime beauty.
“Cracked Prospects” will be on display at Punch Gallery, February 7 – March 2, 2013. http://www.punchgallery.org