Claire Lieberman, associate professor in the School of Art, is voyaging to the Arctic to gain inspiration for her new body of environmentally conscious sculptures.
Lieberman is participating in a three-week sailing expedition that is coordinated by The Arctic Circle, an organization that brings together artists, scientists, architects, educators and activists to engage with social issues, such as climate change.
“This is a really rare opportunity to travel and meet and see things that I’ve never seen before,” Lieberman said.
“I know a lot of artists, and I know a lot of teacher artists, but I don’t necessarily spend two weeks talking about ideas with them. In a way, this is kind of a conference, a floating conference.”
Participants will meet in Longyearbyen, the northernmost tip of Norway, on Sept. 25, where they will sail a fully rigged tall ship 400 miles north, ending just 10 degreesfrom the north pole.
“Once we get up in the arctic area, we don’t have a particular destination,” Lieberman said. “At any time, if anyone wants to stop … they will actually let us get off the boat and go to that place.”
Lieberman has used water and ice as imagery in her previous works and views her sculptures as being ecologically driven.
She said she is especially interested in exploring wildlife, namely polar bears, while she is on the expedition.
She has already sculpted images of bears that appear to be made of melting ice, creating what she called “a simple metaphor” for the adverse effects of climate change on northern wildlife.
“I’ve noticed that there are some issues with the bears,” Lieberman explained.
“I’m not a scientist, but I read about it in the paper, and so I’m going to make some sculptures of the bears.”
“I can’t back up anything I might think or believe with data, so I think it’s very lucky that I can go on this trip and meet scientists and artists who possibly have more education than I do about this,” she added.
While some artists will be creating artwork while they’re on the voyage, Lieberman said she will focus on creating sketches that she can bring back to land as inspiration for future artwork.
“Inspiration is truly something that’s around you in the everyday,” Lieberman said. “I think it’s the artist’s responsibility to make the ordinary extraordinary.”
To find out more about Lieberman’s artwork, visit www.clairelieberman.com.
Information about The Arctic Circle and its expeditions can be found at www.thearcticcircle.org.