Sarah Knobel – Icescapes

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Sarah Knobel, Icescape, photo (2014), on view at Newspace Center for Photography until June 1, 2014

An eclectic mix of disposable manufactured objects (largely gathered from one dollar stores), encased in ice, leans forward. It’s in mid melt, as evidenced by some yellowy water and flecks of green (moss?). For me Sarah Knobel’s Icescapes recalled a number of quite disparate phenomena that taken together made for a potent brew. The haphazard, decayed look made me think of trash left behind by a storm, littering a riverbank and marking an otherwise pristine looking landscape. Or perhaps it’s a cross section pulled out of your garbage can and frozen for posterity, a record of waste and consumption. And, of course, it’s hard not to think of the big melt being caused by climate change. Knobel explains that she’s interested in the history of landscape photography and that her staged landscapes, far from permanent, reference “the fragility of the natural world and our impact upon it within a brief time period in relation to its existence without humankind.” The beauty of this series is indeed unsettling, in part, because it presents, at least implicitly, how we’re irrevocably and rapidly changing our world.

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