Zaria Forman’s paintings of icebergs are so realistic that just looking at them actually gives me the chills. Her 2012 collection, Chasing the Light, is a tribute to her mother who died from brain cancer. She also hopes to raise awareness to climate change through her work.
Forman has a unique style of creating art. “When I travel, I take thousands of photographs and make small sketches. Once I am back in the studio, I draw from my memory of the experience, as well as the photographs to create large scale compositions. I add layers of color onto the paper, smudging everything with my fingers and hand,” she said.
In 2012, Brooklyn-based Forman organized and led a sailing expedition up the northwest coast of Greenland, retracing the 1869 journey of American painter William Bradford. Along the way, she extensively photographed the Arctic landscape to use as inspiration for her paintings. That is how Chasing the Light was conceptualized and created.
Forman is no stranger to ‘artistic expeditions’. She spent her childhood travelling to remote locations with her family. “I developed an appreciation for the beauty and vastness of the ever-changing sky and sea,” she said. “I loved watching a far-off storm on the western desert plains; the monsoon rains of southern India; and the cold arctic light illuminating Greenland’s waters.”
These journeys were often the subjects of her mother’s fine art photography, which has inspired Forman’s own paintings. Through the 2012 expedition, she fulfilled her mother’s last wish. She wrote:
“My mother, Rena Bass Forman, had conceived an idea of the voyage, but sadly did not live to see it through. During the months of her illness her dedication to the expedition never wavered and I promised to carry out her final journey. In Greenland, I scattered her ashes amongst crackling ice diamonds, on the towering peak of one of earth’s oldest stones and under the green glow of northern lights. She is now a part of the landscape she loved so much. I am deeply grateful for the team of talented artists and scholars and the Wanderbird captains and crew for helping me carry out her wishes and realize her dream.”
Chasing the Light is also meant to create awareness on global warming. “My hope is that these drawings bring awareness, and invite viewers to share the urgency in a hopeful and meaningful way,” she said. Forman plans to donate a percentage of the proceeds from this collection to the global climate movement 350.org.
Late last year, Forman visited the Maldives in search of her next big project. She completed another collection there, focusing on the rising ocean tides. Her paintings of the waves are both breathtaking and menacing. To find out more about Forman’s art, you could visit her profile on Artsy, or purchase prints at ArtStar.
Photos: Zaria Forman
via This Is Colossal