Fragile Futures

Fragile Futures explores the beauty of glacial structures whilst also reflecting a more generalised sense of loss and the urgency of taking action to protect our fragile eco systems.

Fragile Futures

About Fragile Futures

Jude Nixon and Mary Walters are visual artists living near the sea in Portobello, Edinburgh. As a result of their individual travels to Northern realms, they have become aware of the impact of climate change and rising sea levels not only on Arctic regions, but also on their own coastal locality.

Both artists have travelled to the seas of the north of Norway, where the annual rise in sea temperature is having a major impact on the cover of sea-ice, both on its extent and on its thickness. Warm and salty Atlantic water is extending its reach northward into the Arctic Ocean, interacting with the cold Arctic water, resulting in the Arctic Ocean becoming warmer and saltier. This process of ‘Atlantification’ means increasing loss of sea-ice, pushing parts of Arctic towards a climate ’tipping point’. Arctic sea-ice keeps the polar regions cool and helps moderate global climate. Sea-ice has a bright surface; 80 percent of the sunlight that strikes it is reflected back into space. As sea-ice melts in the summer, it exposes the dark ocean surface. Instead of reflecting 80 percent of the sunlight, the ocean absorbs 90 percent of the sunlight. The oceans heat up and Arctic temperatures rise further.

Both artists are intrigued by the beauty of ice travelling in the sea – its shapes, its qualities of light, movement, structure and translucency, its manifestations as huge cracked pancakes, vast extents of smooth weight-bearing platforms, floating fragments from small flotsam to vast icebergs.

Jude Nixon’s work reflects her interest in non traditional materials including pigments, graphite, gesso, size and varnishes. Drawing is the medium through which she researches and collects material, making detailed observational studies in the field. In the studio, she moves into a more abstract interpretation, drawing on her emotional and instinctive responses to the subject. Essentially her work is process driven, balancing expressive energy with sensitivity to detail.

Mary Walters works mainly in print and mixed media, with her key inspiration coming from wild landscapes, their geology and geomorphology. Several opportunities to undertake residencies in Svalbard have inspired her recent explorations of ice as a medium for artistic expression. Mary tends to let the ideas she wishes to express dictate the media she works in – hence a wide array of experimentation often takes place.

Against the background of COP26 in Glasgow, Fragile Futures explores the beauty of glacial structures whilst also reflecting a more generalised sense of loss and the urgency of taking action to protect our fragile eco systems.

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