September 2 – October 24, 2021
Reception Sept 12, 2021
Watching The Ice Melt is a body of work utilizing cameraless abstraction, found/archival imagery, and video to address issues of climate change through themes of glacial ice melt, memory, and loss. This work asks the viewer to consider the urgency of the climate crisis, even when faced with a global pandemic and social unrest.
Over the past several years, as I watched reports of the climate crisis getting worse, pushing past the point of no return, with extreme weather events, floods, wildfires, rising global temperatures, and more … I felt helpless. I started to create abstract images of various forms of ordinary ice melting on sensitized cyanotype paper to process my feelings to process my feelings. I watched the ice melt by the heat of the sun, the resulting water mixing with the chemistry, swirling and pooling, thinking of the massive mountain glaciers rapidly disappearing, sea levels rising, things that have been and will never be again, of a changing planet that will be my children’s future.
I have heard the images from this project described as haunting. They are predominantly cameraless abstractions utilizing elemental sources such as ice and the sun in conjunction with the 19th-century cyanotype photographic process. I paird these abstractions with found and archival photographs referencing memory and loss concerning the changing climate, and with a video, which creates a direct and poetic relationship between the physical act of making this work and the ongoing change of our environment.
This project has been generously supported by the A.R.T. Fellowship from the Berkshire Taconic Foundation.
Zachary P. Stephens (b. Brattleboro, VT, 1983) is a visual artist and educator specializing in photographic processes.
He received his MFA in Visual Art from the Vermont College of Fine Arts and a certificate in professional photography from the Hallmark Institute of Photography. Before dedicating his life to art and arts education, he was a professional photojournalist with work appearing in; The New York Times, The Boston Globe, USA Today, The Burlington Free Press, Vermont Life Magazine, The Brattleboro Reformer, and many more.
His work has been exhibited nationally and internationally with the Photographic Exploration Project in Berlin, Germany, Gabba Gallery in Los Angeles, CA, Candela Gallery in Richmond, VA, Woody Gaddis Photographic Arts Gallery in Oklahoma, Kayafas Gallery in Boston, MA, Dianich Gallery in Brattleboro, VT, and the Snyder Gallery in Marlboro, VT. Stephens was also recently named a finalist in Photolucida’s 2020 Critical Mass and awarded the A.R.T. Fellowship from the Berkshire Taconic Foundation.
Currently, he is an adjunct professor of photography at Springfield College and Franklin Pierce University. Additionally, he has taught at Keene State College, Landmark College, the Community College of Vermont, The Putney School, and the In-Sight Photography Project. He is an active member of the Society for Photographic Education.