Frye Art Museum

photo by Jill Berarducci

Seattle, Washington



Visions of Antarctica: Large landscapes by David Rosenthal

June 9 - August 9, 2000


Wearing double mittens as protection against sub-zero temperatures and 40 mile per hour winds, artist David Rosenthal records what he sees. Beginning June 9 at the Frye, David Rosenthal's most recent works on Antarctica landscapes will be on view for the first time in Seattle. The artist will present a lecture on his work Thurs. June 8 at 7 pm.

As a National Science Foundation Artist-in-Residence, Rosenthal has journeyed from his home in Alaska to the continent of Antarctica several times. After sketching in the frigid cold air, he later renders drawings, watercolors and oil studies in doors.

What Rosenthal finds to paint beyond the obvious topographical features such as icebergs, mountains and sea are the unearthly effects of color and light. He creates straightforward renderings of what this self-taught artist sees. But what he sees is so unusual that the canvases are compelling; they read like science fiction. The deep blue star-studded sky in one painting is not the night sky at all - it is daytime in an Antarctic winter. (left: Sunset Light on Shore Fast Ice, oil on linen, 30 x 28 inches)

In the 1970s, David began traveling to remote villages as part of the Artist in the Schools Program sponsored by the State of Alaska. Some of these villages were in the Arctic, providing his first glimpses of exotic icy landscapes that would become the focus of his work. He later participated in the U.S. Coast Guard Art Program, a program that gives artists access to facilities including ice breaker ships. The icebreaker Polar Star has taken him to Greenland and the polar ice cap. The icebergs and the pure light of the arctic inspired Rosenthal to pursue the ultimate land of ice, Antarctica.

Today, David is involved with the National Science Foundation's Antarctic Artist and Writers Program, enabling artists, poets and writers to participate in creative expressions of the Antarctic that, in tandem with the sciences, help us to understand this amazing region. Most recently Rosenthal was artist in residence at Palmer Station, on the Antarctic Peninsula through the austral winter (1999). He comments that he has, "always been interested in the pure landscape. Antarctica is the ultimate. No touch of mankind. It is nature in its purest form."

Rosenthal used the hundreds of sketches and studies from this trip to complete the full size canvases that will be on view at the Frye. His works are currently found in the permanent collections of the Anchorage Museum of History and Art, Alaska State Museum in Juneau, and the University of Alaska Museum in Fairbanks.

Read more in Resource Library Magazine about the Frye Art Museum.

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This page was originally published in Resource Library Magazine. Please see Resource Library's Overview section for more information. rev. 2/28/11

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