Polar ice in Glass and light

In mid-December, Seth Resnick watched the sun set over Antarctic ice. The sunset glow lasted four hours, and as soon as it faded it began in reverse — sunset moving into sunrise.

In the Namib desert in Namibia, he has seen sand dunes that stretch for 50 miles and end as abruptly as the snow-line on a mountain, so that trees grow 10 feet from a dune more than 100 meters high.

For him the light on the sand or on the ice holds a tension and solitude together. He turns the light into photographs, and glass artist Peter Bremers molds it into sculpture. And this month in the Southern Berkshires their work will stand side by side.

Blue Iceberg in the Scotia Sea in Antarctica. Image courtesy of Seth Resnick and Cassandra Sohn Gallery

Blue Iceberg in the Scotia Sea in Antarctica. Image courtesy of Seth Resnick and Cassandra Sohn Gallery

Cassandra Sohn at her gallery in Lenox and Jim Schantz at Schantz Galleries in Stockbridge are partnering in “Earth Dialog,” a show of both artists’ work at both galleries, opening Oct. 8.

Resnick captures sunlight hitting desert fog, ocean waves and sand moved by the wind — repetitive patterns with a break in them.

“The brain is drawn to them,” he said in a phone interview.

He finds them in textures, in ripples in ice, in sand, in rock formations, even in clouds.

Photographing them is his way of entering the personal space of that landscape, he said, and conveying that adrenaline rush.

Originally from upstate New York, Resnick has traveled the world, photographing for National Geographic, the New Yorker, the New York Times, the Smithsonian and many more. Many of the photographs in this show came from a recent project that took him across 160,000 miles in a year.

Bremers, a Dutch artist born in Maastricht, studied sculpture at the University of Fine Arts in his home city and now lives and works between the Netherlands and Sedona, Ariz., Schantz said. He discovered glass as a medium, rather than coming to it as an artisan and deepening the craft into art.

Bremers works with large shards of outdoor glass melted into a mold, creating patterns with thin veils between them like membranes. He shapes the surface with grinding tools,  Schantz said, sculpting and sometimes polishing. His forms sheer into flat planes or sloped as though half-melted.

They flicker from transparent to translucent to opaque, jade green and clear as salt water, deep aqua weathered like sea glass or the intense fall-sky blue of an iceberg in one of Resnick’s photographs.

That blue is real. When ice bergs calve, coming off an ice shelf, they may submerge for thousands of years, Resnick said. Under water, they are under intense pressure, and the ice becomes so dense that when it comes to the surface blue light can no longer pass through it, and it takes on an incredible hue, like neon light.

Ice bergs have inspired Bremers too. He has worked for a long time with clear glass, Schantz said, and traveling in the Arctic changed the way he thought about his work. His and Resnick’s ideas have a unity to them.

“They have a similar aesthetic,” Sohn agreed, “a deep love and concern for climate change.”

The similarities in color and texture can feel uncanny, she said, as though Bremers had created the exact ice berg in Resnick’s photo. She looked forward to the opening, when Bremers and Resnick will meet and look at their work together.

Sand dunes in the Atacama desert of Chile. Photo by Seth Resnick, courtesy of Seth Resnick and Cassandra Sohn Gallery

Sand dunes in the Atacama desert of Chile. Photo by Seth Resnick, courtesy of Seth Resnick and Cassandra Sohn Gallery

She and Schantz have found promise in this new collaboration. They have been friends for years, since Sohn opened her first gallery across from the Schantz Gallery in Stockbridge. She moved to Lenox two years ago, she said, and the two have supported each other in their work, but this kind of collaboration is new to both of them.

Two Berkshire galleries collaborating to show two artists is rare in itself, Sohn said. She has worked with local museums and arts nonprofits in the past several years, as Schantz has partnered with Chesterwood in the “Nature of Glass” exhibit this summer and fall that includes two of Bremers’ sculptures. But this kind of paired show is a new venture for both galleries — and, they both said, a positive one, for them and the community, for the artists and the work.

The photographs and the glass sculptures build from each other, Sohn said.

The artists share a sense of beauty and a love of places where it is hard to survive.

Antarctic winter can fall to 100 degrees below zero, Resnick said, and the sand in Namibia can heat to 140 degrees in the sun.

They also share a sense that these places are fragile.

Bremers has called one of his sculptures “The Last Iceberg,” Schantz said, an element of the environment rapidly altering. He has talked about the intense awe he has felt, looking eye to eye with a whale in the Antarctic.

His sculpture seems to build the landscape from the inside out, Sohn said.

He knows — because he has seen and felt it — what the world has to lose.

Resnick, returning to the Antarctic seven times in the last 10 years, has seen the landscape changing. The ice is visibly melting, he said. When he sees the vastness of ice going into the ocean, the idea of the ocean rising becomes clearer, and it hits home for him. He lives a mile from the shore.

One reason to take photographs, he said, is to record these places while he can.

So both artists try to hold a sapphire slope of ice in the Scotia Sea in an image printed on plexiglass or a glass form like a ship in full sail.


If you go …

What: ‘Earth Dialog,’ glass sculpture by Peter Bremers and photography by Seth Resnick

Where: Schantz Galleries, 3 Elm St., Stockbridge, and Sohn Gallery, 69 Church St., Lenox

When: Opening Saturday, Oct. 8, 3 to 5 p.m. at Sohn Gallery and 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at Schantz Galleries

Admission: Free

Information: 413-298-3044, schantzgalleries.com, sohnfineart.com


This story first ran in the Berkshire Eagle — my thanks to Arts and Entertianment Editor Jeffrey Borak. In the photo at the top, Peter Bremers’ glass sculptures ripple like ice at Chesterwood in the ‘Nature of Glass’ exhibit Jim Schantz has curated there. Schantz will also highlight Bremers’ work at his own gallery this fall. Photo by Kate Abbott

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