Julian Grater: Arctic Mirage – Southampton City Art Gallery

Julian Grater: Arctic Mirage

20 October 2023 – 3 February 2024

Julian Grater, Blue Berg, Baffin Bay © the artist

Arctic Mirage brings together an ongoing body of work by Southampton-based artist Julian Grater which explores the contemporary high arctic, a region undergoing rapid changes both glacially and on a human level. Since participating in two international residency programmes in the early 2000s at The Banff Centre for the Arts in Canada and the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, USA, Grater has been extensively drawn to this subject and has since made many trips to the Arctic, including a study of the Burgess Shale, a rich fossil deposit more than half a billion years old in the Canadian Rockies.

Grater’s practise covers many forms of media, and the exhibition includes largescale paintings of the Greenland Icesheet, photography and drawing. It explores both the topography and physical visualisation of the Arctic alongside intimate portraits of Inuit people. These are part of a series called TØ (thaw), which uses glacial ice from the Kangia Icefjord, Western Greenland, as an additional integrated drawing medium, used to dissolve and partially erase the drawings.

The exhibition includes two works by Paul Nash which have had a great influence on Grater: Winter Sea from York Art Gallery and The Tide from Southampton’s collection. In addition, a selection from Grater’s Biomarkers series are displayed, which feature drawings inspired by the subarctic pre-cambrian fossils of the Burgess Shale. These works are shown alongside fossil specimens from the Natural History Museum, London. The exhibition aims to stimulate awareness and debate, whilst encouraging interest in this dynamic environment and its people.


Julian Grater, Greenlandic Portraits, © the artist

Julian Grater, Greenlandic Portraits, © the artist

Julian Grater, Greenlandic Portraits, © the artist

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