The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) will present Alexis Rockman: The Great Lakes Cycle organized by the Grand Rapids Art Museum (GRAM) at the Chicago Cultural Center, June 2–October 1 in the Exhibit Hall, 4th Floor North. The free admission exhibition is a multi-faceted project that explores the past, present and future of North America’s Great Lakes – one of the world’s emblematic and ecologically significant ecosystems.
A DCASE spokesperson says, "The Great Lakes are one of the most vital natural treasures in the world, holding 20% of the earth’s fresh water and forming an interconnected system that is among the most economically significant and ecologically complex regions on the planet." The works in the exhibition are based on Rockman’s extensive research, travel within the region and conversations with environmental scientists, historians and Great Lakes specialists.
Alexis Rockman: The Great Lakes Cycle is anchored by five mural- sized (72” x 144”) oil paintings, each exploring a theme that emerged during Rockman’s field research and engagement with Great Lakes experts. The exhibition also features a selection of approximately 30 field drawings created from organic materials collected at various Great Lakes sites, including key flora and fauna in the ecosystem, invasive species and those under threat of extinction. Completing the series, a collection of six large-scale (72” x 52”) vibrant watercolors offer a new point of view.
Born and raised in New York, Rockman is known for his ecology-based works of art included in public and private collections worldwide. His work has been shaped by a lifetime interest in nature, and he found inspiration in explorers who immersed themselves in the wilderness and recorded their observations in notebooks and publications. The artist’s works are influenced by the history and practice of scientific representation, as well as methods of historical and contemporary artistic expression, drawing inspiration from 17th-century Dutch still life's and 19th-century American landscapes.
The exhibition’s consists of five oil paintings, highlighting themes Rockman identified through his research. Three of the oil paintings include: “Cascade” which examines the history and effects of human activity; “Spheres of influence” looks at the relationship of the atmosphere to the water and “Watershed” considers the land around the Lakes and its impact on the ecosystem.
Rockman’s narrations and panoramas reveal timelines of geology, climate and human history related to the Great Lakes, beginning with the Pleistocene Era, passing through the centuries to humanity’s present relationship with the Lakes, and beyond to a vision of their future.
June 1 - October 1
Chicago Cultural Center
78 E. Washington St
Chicago, IL 60602