Lily Simonson - Garwood Ice Cliff, Antarctica No. 3, 2014

Between the Ice Sheets No, 3 (Garwood Ice Cliff, Antarctica), 2014
Oil and ultraviolet pigment on canvas, 98" x 70"


Past Exhibition

Lily Simonson

On Ice

September 14 – October 26, 2014
Artist Reception: Sunday, September 14, 2014, 5 - 7 p.m.
Exploring Antarctica - New Frontiers of Art and Science Sunday: October 12, 4 p.m. with Lily Simonson/Joe Levy


CB1 Gallery is pleased to present On Ice, Lily Simonson's second solo exhibition at the gallery. Last year, Simonson spent over a month in Antarctica, sleeping in a one-person tent and plein air painting in the McMurdo Dry Valleys--one of the coldest, driest environments on the planet. As the embedded artist in a National Science Foundation expedition, she worked in tandem with geologists to investigate changes in this alien landscape. Invoking the tradition of Romantic landscape painting, Simonson’s new series of mammoth canvases transport viewers to this sublime, barely-explored, and thrillingly inhospitable world.

The exhibition will be on view from Sunday, September 14 through Sunday, October 26, 2014. An opening reception for the artist will take place on Sunday, September 14, from 5-7 pm. On Sunday, October 12, the gallery will host a discussion with the artist and her collaborator Dr. Joe Levy, a permafrost and planetary geologist at the University of Texas Institute for Geophysics.

Simonson’s Antarctic series focuses primarily on the unique buried glacier of Garwood Valley, whose highly pronounced strata of ice and sediment represent a comprehensive climate record of the last ice age. Changing weather conditions have spurred melting of these long-frozen deposits, resulting in rapid transformations of the landscape. Simonson's vibrant, gestural paintings of the glacier embody the site's battle between stability and dynamism.

Luminescing with ultraviolet-reactive pigments, Simonson's paintings deploy light itself as a medium. This technique conjures the radiance of glacial ice, and underscores the fact that increased sunlight is causing dramatic shifts in the Antarctic landscape.

On Ice will also feature Lily Simonson’s concurrent series of hyper-saturated glowing abstract paintings. These works evoke the dazzling skies of the Aurora Australis, and the prismatic splintering of white light through crystalline ice. Exhibiting psychedelic abstract paintings alongside the landscapes, Simonson aims to capture the hallucinatory experience of intense isolation in the otherworldly void of our planet's most barren continent.

Simonson’s Antarctic exploration will continue this winter, when she embarks on a three-month residency in Antarctica as the 2014-15 National Science Foundation Antarctic Artists and Writers Awardee. She plans to SCUBA dive beneath the sea ice to observe and paint new subjects thriving in the frigid yet rich habitat of the Southern Ocean. Simonson will also serve as the Artist in Residence and Science Communication Fellow aboard the Exploration Vessel Nautilus, exploring and painting Kick-em Jenny, the Caribbean's only active submarine volcano. Simonson has previously been to sea as part of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography's San Diego Coastal Expedition where she created paintings inspired by the deep-sea fauna collected by researchers from the oxygen minimum zone. Her art has been exhibited across the US and Europe, and her art has appeared in a range of media outlets, including the LA Times, LA Weekly, MTV, the Huffington Post, CBS News, and MSNBC. Simonson holds an MFA from UCLA and a BA from UC Berkeley. She has taught painting and drawing at UC Berkeley, the Norton Simon Museum of Art, and CSU Pomona.

Exploring Antarctica: New Frontiers of Art and Science
Panel discussion with Lily Simonson, Dr. Joe Levy and Mary Miller.