How to look through time: transience, water, Titian’s Red Sea

Time and water. These are the two elements that hold my attention even as it wanders towards an abstracted elsewhere. That elsewhere is held in fading things: mists, old drawings, things on the brink that seem to be evanescing and disappearing in the same instant. The ocean, clouds, frozen water, Venice and its marriage with the sea, the actions of time upon the past.  

The project starts with a print by Titian (Tiziano Vecello)The Submersion of Pharaoh’s Army in the Red Sea (ca.1515, printed 1549). Museums Sheffield have given me extensive access to their version to develop a solo exhibition in 2025 that presents my own work alongside and entwined with Titian’s print. I am thinking with this image and the ways in which it points to real or imagined universal catastrophes. I will foreground the media of Titian’s print: paper and plate, the plate of the print in itself a ruin, a trace of a ruined form, and the lost drawing that the print is made from. This practice-based research reflects on a drawing that no longer exists to build the connection between art works across time, addressing the lost gestures of a work to propose re-evaluations of past events and understandings. 

I’ve also been drawing from scenes of a filmed guided tour of the Paradise Ice Caves on Mt. Rainer that I found in the University of Washington’s archive. The drawings trace a route to the snowfields of my past across the Paradise Glacier. The caves are no more and the glacier itself began its retreat in the 1970s but what is left is solastalgia

Solastalgia combines solace, desolation and nostalgia to convey the distress of seeing a familiar environment transformed by elemental catastrophe. It is the disorienting homesickness we experience without leaving home, when home has altered beyond recognition. While I’m drawn to images such as Titian’s that depict an idea of catastrophe, I’m not trying to make work about the climate crisis but from deep within it. I’m not going to construct images of apocalyptic scenarios; I want to chart internal cartographies. Shame, despair, boredom and fatigue — solastalgia in ordinary life, getting to the universal through the personal.

See a version here.