Bergy Bit Series  

We are all familiar with the idea of glaciers, icebergs, snowfields, and hundreds of other words descriptive of snow and ice.  My overall impression of ice, snow, and the results of its accumulation is one of purity and power.  My work is abstract, like the surface of these snowfields, and reflects a rainbow of color field possibilities.  Ice is alive with color that shifts and refracts light as I depict in these paintings.  As an observer shifts position the light shifts its characteristics.  There is an iridescence that overwhelms in nature and seems artificial on recollection.

The ice came alive to me in ways that transcended its coldness and vastness.  There was spirit in those places that spoke with the wind, the cracks of startling booms as icebergs were calved into the sea, or the infinitely extending silence of a place devoid of industrial sounds.

These “Bergy Bits” are intended to deal with color and light.

I have been to the continent seventeen times, some previous journeys as an expedition artist and lecturer.  Two trips were on a 65-foot motor sailor, the Golden Fleece, captained by either Jerome or Dion Poncet, to circumnavigate South Georgia Island.  Expeditions have taken me from New Zealand through the Sub Antarctic Islands and Macquarie Island into the Ross Sea to explore the huts of Scott and Shackleton.  It is my intention to find additional venues to explore different parts of this vast and inspiring place.  The art will follow.

“Bergy Bit” – large chunk of glacier ice or a very small iceberg floating in the sea.  They are generally spawned from disintegrating icebergs and glaciers.

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Shackleton Hut Photographs - Antarctica

My Sir Ernest Shackleton Hut photographs are intended to illuminate and celebrate Shackleton’s time at Cape Royds.  To succeed in getting to such places as Cape Royds in the Ross Sea involves a long and difficult sea voyage as well as the high probability that one will not be able to land due to conditions such as sea ice or terrible weather. Once having landed there is a long, uphill climb in icy and windy conditions past a huge Adelie Penguin colony.  The small, unpainted hut is at the end of this struggle as it was for Shackleton and the men who lived there for more than a year. 

Entering the hut and getting out of the constant wind and cold brought for me a sense of accomplishment.  Then there is the interior of the hut itself, stacked with the supplies and equipment necessary for the original expedition to survive.  I was immediately struck by the focal point of the hut…the stove.  The stove was the sole generator of warmth and also the center of social as well as physical survival for the men.  This Shackleton series is my homage and celebration to the spirit of the place.

Except for the sounds of the rookeries and the wind, there is a complete absence of industrial sound.  Photographs lack sound or any suggestion of it. It is as if each scene has been encapsulated and frozen in crystal pure ice.  

My Antarctic photographs have been taken on fourteen expeditions to Antarctica and the Sub Antarctic Islands over the past fourteen years. Initially I went to the Antarctic to gather ice images for an abstract painting series.  It was overwhelmingly clear to me that there was much more than ice and snow here and I would be able to create a number of different series of work. Landscape has always been an important element in my paintings, but the white on white wilderness and purity of Antarctica, its amazing wildlife and history soon convinced me to continue to work on the color field paintings but also to expand the vision in a number of other directions.  

My studio is located in Venice, California.  I have studied at the San Francisco Art Institute, the Academy of Art University, San Francisco, and Parsons School of Design, New York.  My paintings are abstract and use specific elements of an observed location as the basis of my inspiration.  My Antarctic photography has opened a more immediate and accessible expression of my concern, attraction and enthusiasm for documenting the environment, its wildlife and history.

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Kamchatka Region - Russia

In remote villages of the Kamchatka Region, Russia, two different descriptions of the futures of two loved and valued small children emerge against the background of the weatherworn buildings. The choice of strollers, outside, indicated to me the parents have voiced a clear recognition that the sexual and social future of their babies will be one thing for a daughter and another for a son. This is a village of no personal wealth but the voice and vision of the children of each set of parents standout as impossibly brilliant and colorful in an other wise drab and colorless setting.

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Ross Ice Shelf Photographs - Antarctica

This is an image of a tiny portion of the Ross Ice Shelf that is the same size as France. The face we see is 50-150 feel high and 800 kilometers long. It is one of the elements of the spirit of the Southern Ocean and Antarctica itself. Wind and cold are its dominant messages because there are no sounds of industrial society here, just silences except for those wind and sea expressions punctuated by cracking-booming ice as it breaks off into the sea. It is a pristine place, seemingly overwhelming and awesome, but so fragile and changing.

I would like this photo to connect the viewer to a distant region of the world they might never have the opportunity to visit. My goal is to convey my attraction to this fragile environment, its stark beauty and the spirit of Antarctica.    

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California Water Photographs

Decisions made thousands of miles away may have unintended consequences for an area and the people who live in that area. This is especially true with water policy. Perhaps a picture speaks a thousand words.

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Venice Beach Photographs

Venice Beach is a neighborhood in West Los Angeles that is especially rich in images jammed together almost wherever one looks. While on a simple walk to the post office, grocery store or the famous Venice Canals one blends with that location like native denizens. It is a place of many specialists where a park can be traffic jammed with skateboards a few strides from the “walk streets” named for the one sidewalk that tunnels between block after block of architecturally enhanced houses silent, cool and dank. My walk of a few feet can carry me through a variety of extreme environments. Venice Beach is my daily changing treasure chest.

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Etichette

J. J. L’Heureux’ Etichette Series incorporates Italian fruit and cheese labels, etichette, in the construction of an extensive collection of collages.  A number of years ago in Italy L’Heureux was struck by the variety and quality of the local, old style fruit and cheese labels.  It was not too long thereafter while on safaris to collect labels that she also became aware that industrial design and materials were replacing these earlier labels.  The quality, materials and designs of the replacement labels were plastic, modern and in her mind carried lesser messages. 

The first etichette collage was made as a gift for the host with whom she was staying.  Based on the recipient’s enthusiasm and the positive comments by visiting friends, L’Heureux began to make a series with the hundreds of labels she had collected in the field.  In order to “nail down” the etichette elements to the under-painted surfaces, L’Heureux used knotted thread in a special stitch that she had used since 1970.  At that time she created a body of paintings with similarly textured surfaces using this knot, she referred to the series at the time as “Woman’s Work.”  L’Heureux cites Picasso’s and Braque’s classic cubist paintings and collages as a major influence on her making collage.  She first saw their collage-oriented work at the Museum of Modern Art in New York when she lived in the city as a young artist.