The Art of Science: So Over the Horizon

Fox, New Zealand, from Caleb Cain Marcus,  A Portrait of Ice
Fox, New Zealand, from Caleb Cain Marcus, A Portrait of Ice

You know how the horizon makes a more or less straight line across every landscape?  I saw a series of art photos of glaciers last night by Caleb Cain Marcus at the National Academy of Sciences that buck the convention. Although he’s shooting landscapes, Marcus messes around with the composition of his photographs so that he eliminates the horizon – you just get craggy bits of ice and then a big expanse of sky.  As the NAS blurb about the show expresses it: “Freed from the horizon, a sense of scale is lost, altering one’s experience of a landscape. It is in this unfamiliar territory that Cain Marcus hopes viewers can fully experience the persona of ice.”

But here’s the weird thing: I saw this artwork just a few days after watching Cosmos, the episode where Neil DeGrasse Tyson pointed out that, because we’re on a round planet spinning through a constantly moving universe, that line that we see as the horizon isn’t actually there. The line is a lie.

So, in making his pictures of glaciers more abstract by eliminating the horizon, Marcus is actually making them more real. And I think I just blew my own mind.

You can see the show at NAS through July 18 or see more images on Marcus’ website.

Author: michelebanks1

Artist and blogger

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