The Telluride Gallery of Fine Art is pleased to announce it’s first exhibition with the New York based artist Justin Brice Guariglia, Phenomena ad Noumena (small picture studies), on view from May 26 through June 6. Over the last two decades, Guariglia has developed a unique transdisciplinary art practice which often involves collaboration with scientists, philosophers, and journalists in order to develop a more informed, holistic, ontological world view. In doing so, his art has become a research practice to investigate the world, and an attempt to forge a deeper understanding of important ecological issues of our time.
In Phenomena ad Noumena (small picture studies), Guariglia posits that the gap between “phenomena,” that which we sense or perceive, and “noumena,” the object that exists without sense or perception, might be worth heightened scrutiny in the age of the Anthropocene. This new geological epoch, also called “the human age,” is distinctly marked as a time when non-sentient beings (i.e. – ice sheets), begin to make decisive contact with sentient beings (i.e. – humans), in the form of non-local phenomena like global warming, sea level rise, and a rapidly changing climate. For Guariglia, these become important points of exploration in his work, as he attempts to make these virtually unknowable, existential abstracts, visceral and felt.
Guariglia’s work seemingly walks the line between painting and photography. The smaller paintings in the gallery consist of portraits of Greenland’s deglaciated mountains which have been shaped by millions of years of glacial and interglacial periods but recently have become rapidly exposed due to human-caused ablation of the ice sheets through global warming. The images, which Guariglia has taken from NASA flights over Greenland, are digitally sprayed with an acrylic onto the surface of the panel, in a printing process which the artist has pioneered, gently pushing the image into abstraction, reminding us of the ambiguity that exists in the gap between that which we perceive, and that which exists. The larger more photographic works are pictures of the calving facade of the Russell Glacier, a land-terminating glacier located in Qeqqata, Greenland. The abstract images slowly reveal to the viewer the complex fissures and stress cracks in the 110,000-year-old ice, as seen only moments before it calves off into the seasonal glacial run-off stream below. Once in the river, the ice begins its phase change to its liquid state as it’s swept into the world’s oceans.