Mapping Extremes (project space) at Able Baker Contemporary, 29 Forest Avenue, Portland, Maine, 04101


Visual information about remote areas of the world (arctic and desert; influenced by and inhabiting changing extremes of weather) tends to favor a numerical and pessimistic set of charts. Conversely, visual information about the local often reflects our immediate lived experience with the environment, in the form of pictorial landscape representations. In Mapping Extremes, these tendencies are altered; on one hand by taking language away from visual responses to extreme landscapes, and focusing on tightly-enclosed aspects of those environments (lumps of ice, bits of rock); and on the other hand reimagining visual data to facilitate a more flexible understanding of global climate trends and their relationship to local centers of climate-related information.

Magenta Desert  by Sage Lewis (left) alongside  Blackstone Glacier Ice #2,  an ice photogram by Shoshannah White.

Magenta Desert by Sage Lewis (left) alongside Blackstone Glacier Ice #2, an ice photogram by Shoshannah White.

Artists Sage Lewis and Shoshannah White work with imagery from opposite ends of climatic extremes--Lewis's work stemming from images she gathered in the deserts of Qatar, White's from the rapidly-degenerating Arctic Circle, which she visited by boat with her camera. In both bodies of work, the surfaces of these landscapes--surfaces which voicelessly contain the secrets about the future of life on earth--form nearly non-objective compositions that turn the viewer away from a narrative reading and gesture toward the non-verbal experience of living in the environment, moment by moment.

Cartographer Christian MilNeil reverses this non-narrative optical approach with specifically designed visual information addressing global and local environmental issues. Through his detailed use of graphics and mapmaking, MilNeil turns the conversation about climate change from the broadly understood to the impact of immediate visual recognition. As a counterpoint to the work of Lewis and White, MilNeil reflects the lived experience of climate change back to everyday life.

Mapping Extremes runs October 14-November 26, 2016. Artists' reception is on Friday, October 14, 5:00-8:00...please join us


Read the exhibition review in the Portland Press Herald.