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Nature’s Power is Unleashed: Clifford Ross: Waves Kicks off New Season at Boca Raton Museum of Art

November 11, 2019 USA News No Comments

The power of nature is unleashed at the Boca Raton Museum of Art for the new season, as the new exhibition Clifford Ross: Waves kicks off the museum’s 70th anniversary season (on view through March 1st).

This new show sounds a clarion call for environmental awareness and protecting the planet.

This breathtaking experience in the museum galleries also reminds viewers that the beauty of nature can still inspire us, despite the over-saturation of society by hand-held devices and screens.

Clifford Ross: Waves features a new approach to his monumental depictions of ocean waves that the artist captures during extreme weather. The result is the most comprehensive survey of his process ever shown in a museum.

Ross dramatically presents the monstrous power of the seas in his new exhibition at a crucial moment in time for our planet: the United Nations recently issued a major new report warning that the dangerous effects of climate change on our oceans is much worse than previously thought.

The new findings warn about warming oceans and damaged ecosystems.

Sea levels are rising faster than previously predicted, glaciers and ice sheets melting more rapidly than expected, shrinking the fisheries that feed millions.

The new report from the United Nations Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change warns that many cities around the world will experience annual flooding events by 2050 that previously occurred only once per century.

The world’s oceans have been warming since 1970 and have absorbed 90 percent of the planet’s excess heat, killing off vast stretches of coral reefs. Absorbing massive amounts of carbon has made the ocean more acidic and inhospitable to corals that millions of species depend on for survival.

“When I first began photographing these hurricane waves 30 years ago, most of us were unaware that global warming was seriously damaging our oceans,” said Clifford Ross.

“Now, as I look back on my work, it takes on a whole new meaning.”

“The ferocity of these hurricane waves was partially due to global warming.”

This project has come full circle, as much a meditation on the medium of photography as it is a photographic reflection of our world,” said Ross.

“It would seem obvious that a museum with a coastal address such as ours would naturally be ever fascinated by the subject of waves.” said Irvin Lippman, the executive director of the Boca Raton Museum of Art. “The subject of Clifford’s photographs in this new exhibition, however, goes deeper into the unpredictable shapes of waves, as much about abstraction as realism.”

The effect of being engulfed in a room full of his work is profound, causing some viewers to claim they can actually hear the sound of the ocean waves although there is no sound component.

Ross is celebrated worldwide for his Hurricane Waves series, monumental images that were photographed by the artist during storms and while hurricanes were offshore, while he was attached by a tether to his assistant who remained on land as Ross braved the ocean surf.

The effect of being engulfed in a room full of his work is profound.

Some viewers claim they can actually hear the sound of the ocean waves – although there is actually no sound component.

The size of these images is humbling. The angle of vision, from as low as possible, is calculated to inspire awe. The waves dominate us, framed or cropped; we feel their full force.

These waves invoke the power of wind as well as the power of water, the great cyclical forces of nature that generate energy.

This major survey includes his monumental hurricane wave images. Other sections include: the Horizons series (photographs that explore movement with the added power of obstruction); his Hurricane Scrolls; and the Grains series of bold abstract works exploring the purity of color.

The exhibition also features a site-specific installation of extremely large-scale prints on wood, as well as the artist’s Digital Waves – A computer generated video displayed on an LED wall that has been acquired by the museum for its collection.

“Somehow the apocalyptic quality of the show does not erase the basic lyricism and beauty that I see in nature. When I started out, wanting to celebrate nature by creating bodies of work that were an homage to the sublime, I didn’t understand that the images were also capturing evidence – evidence of our negative impact on nature.”

“The ferocity, the forms of these waves were partially due to global warming. This project has come full circle, as much a meditation on the medium of photography as it is a photographic reflection of our world,” said Clifford Ross.

“The pure abstraction of the Grains series is an antidote to the hurricane, a space to calm down. A quiet end to this stormy story where we can recompose our thoughts,” said Clifford Ross.

While it explores the limits of photography and abstraction, this exhibition is also a dramatic declaration about climate change.

“This exhibition is a thorough survey of my working methods,” said Ross. “an effort to show all the ways I have approached the subject of ocean waves. But there’s also a deeper theme of addressing climate change – unavoidable in this day and age.”

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