Alexis Rockman (American, b. 1962). Cascade, 2015. Oil and alkyd on wood panel. 72 x 144 inches. Commissioned by Grand Rapids Art Museum with funds provided by Peter Wege, Jim and Mary Nelson, John and Muriel Halick, Mary B. Loupee, and Karl and Patricia Betz. Grand Rapids Art Museum, 2015.19
Alexis Rockman: The Great Lakes Cycle
January 27, 2018 – April 29, 2018
Alexis Rockman: The Great Lakes Cycle explores the past, present, and future of North America’s Great Lakes–one of the world’s most emblematic and ecologically significant ecosystems.
This multifaceted project was initiated in 2013 when artist Alexis Rockman embarked on a research tour of the Great Lakes region. The centerpiece of the exhibition is a suite of five mural-sized paintings which explore separate themes that emerged during Rockman’s travels. These are accompanied by several large-scale watercolors and field drawings–monochromatic animal and plant studies made from site-sourced organic material such as mud, sand, coal, and leaves.
One of the world’s great natural treasures, the Great Lakes—Erie, Huron, Ontario, Michigan, and Superior—form an interconnected system that is among the most beautiful, economically significant, and ecologically complex regions on the planet. The Great Lakes, which hold over 20% of the world’s fresh water, contain some of the most precious resources for the future of humankind and life on earth. Rockman’s series celebrates the natural majesty and global importance of the Great Lakes while exploring how they are threatened by factors including climate change, globalization, invasive species, mass agriculture and urban sprawl. While there has been some success in reversing these trends, the exhibition of these dramatic works will serve to inspire wider understanding and draw greater attention to the urgency of these issues.
About the Artist
Born in 1962 and raised in New York, Alexis Rockman has been the subject of many solo and group exhibitions internationally, including a major retrospective organized by the Smithsonian American Art Museum. His work is included in public and private collections around the world, and he has held teaching posts at Columbia and Harvard Universities, among others. Rockman studied at Rhode Island School of Design and the School of the Visual Arts, New York and gained early recognition in the mid-1980s for his realistic bio-botanical scenes. He lives and works in New York City.
This exhibition was organized by the Grand Rapids Art Museum.