The Ice Queen of Brooklyn

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Why you should care

Because our planet’s ice is melting fast.

Penguins blanketed the landscape for as far as the eye could see. But one member of the expedition to Antarctica had her camera pointed in the opposite direction, where mammoth white and blue shapes stood on the horizon. “I was there for the ice,” explains artist Zaria Forman.

Forman has a thing for ice, and a talent for re-creating it — hyperrealistically — on paper. Her work must be seen to be believed. (While editing our video, I was often confused: Was I looking at a photo of the ice? Or one of Forman’s drawings?)

Forman’s methodical and driven approach may seem cold for an even colder subject, but her work is deeply emotional. It’s about the tragedy of landscapes that are being lost to global warming — Arctic ice is melting at ever faster rates, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center. It’s also about creating a psychological landscape, one where Forman can reconnect with her mother, whom she lost to a brain tumor in 2010.

Forman is working on her next solo show, which is set to open in Seattle next year. But if you can’t wait until then, you’ll be able to catch one of her drawings at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia next week. Her contribution, Greenland No. 60, will be part of Truth to Power, a show that aims to shape the political conversation around the DNC by touching on health care, police violence and climate injustice — a topic close to Forman’s heart.

Antarctica images & footage courtesy Zaria Forman and Weston Serame.

Timelapse footage courtesy Stone Dow.

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