Liza Ryan’s Altered Images Summon the Terrible Beauty of Antarctica
By Patrick Rogers
Liza Ryan's trip to Antarctica for her 50th birthday was the journey of a lifetime, a dream she had been working toward for years. In preparation for the two-week visit in 2016, the Los Angeles–based artist did her homework, reading Peter Matthiessen's End of the World and a book about British explorer Ernest Shackleton's ill-fated voyage to the South Pole aboard the sailing ship Endurance.
But nothing prepared her for the real-life encounter with the continent at the end of the Earth. "My initial impression was one of suspended belief because I had no point of reference for what I saw. The scene from the ship felt like a backdrop for a movie or theater," she said. Only on further inspection, when Ryan boarded a kayak and actually entered into the landscape, did the utterly foreign scene begin to make sense. "It's almost like you have to touch it to believe it's real," she said.
"Conduit" 2017Liza Ryan
Ryan said she was particularly affected by the profound quiet of the place. Freed from the normal perceptual distractions of home, her ears opened to unaccustomed sounds and even a new type of listening, she recalls. "Sounds consisted of the ocean, wind, creaking glaciers, penguins and whales blowing and breaching. Calving glaciers sound like cannons going off—it's beautiful and terrifying and more alive-seeming than any landscape I have visited."
Back in her studio in Los Angeles, Ryan spent more than a year manipulating photographs she had taken in Antarctica in an attempt to conjure memories of not only what she saw there, but also what she felt. Twenty of her images, now on view at the Kayne Griffin Corcoran gallery in Los Angeles, present landscapes and seascapes heightened by applications of ink, watercolor and graphite that guide the spectator's eye in an artful act of editing. The purpose, said Ryan, is "to emphasize certain elements that I remembered but are easy to overlook at the reduced scale" of a photograph on a gallery wall.
"Glass" 2017Liza Ryan
Ryan uses daunting expanses of sea and sky as framing devices that compress the jagged landmasses and serrated icebergs—the only possible stages for human activity in her images—into thin strips of middle ground. Looking at the vast frozen tableaus, you can't help but confront your own insignificance in them. And yet Ryan's representations, which appear nearly monochromatic on first glance, are also subtly alive with color and detail that encourage exploration and, ultimately, evoke a thrilling sense of awe.
Two years on, Ryan continues to work with the photos she took in Antarctica to bring out the emotions she experienced there. In part, she's inspired by the precarious state of the continent's changing climate, which makes her art seem more urgent. "Antarctica is melting and could disappear," she said. Her motivation also stems from the "recalibration" she underwent there, which altered her perception of her place in the world. "The place has a palpable power that is indescribable," she said. "I continue to learn from it in the studio ... I can't seem to let go."
Liza Ryan's "Antarctica" will be on display at Kayne Griffin Corcoran in Los Angeles through March 17, 2018.
Reposted with permission from our media associate onEarth.
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As protests are taking place across our nation in response to the killing of George Floyd, we want to acknowledge the importance of this protest and the Black Lives Matter movement. Over the years, we've aimed to be sensitive and prioritize stories that highlight the intersection between racial and environmental injustice. From our years of covering the environment, we know that too often marginalized communities around the world are disproportionately affected by environmental crises.
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They also encounter what some call an "infodemic," an outbreak of misinformation that's making it more difficult to treat patients.
When Leaders and Doctors Spread Misinformation<p>When people in charge of towns, cities, states, and countries spread misinformation, the potential for belief in misinformation to result in policies can have harmful effects.</p><p><a href="https://www.northwell.edu/find-care/find-a-doctor?q=Bruce+E.+Hirsch%2C+MD&insurance=&location=&query_type=provider&physician_partners=false&default_view=list&gender=&language=&sort=relevancy" target="_blank">Dr. Bruce E. Hirsch</a>, attending physician and assistant professor in the infectious disease division of Northwell Health in Manhasset, New York, says an example of this is when President Trump informed the public he was taking hydroxychloroquine as a preventive measure.</p><p>"To approach this enormous challenge, we need some intellectual honesty and clarity, and to disregard expertise and to make decisions and model decisions based on hunches is inviting us to handle challenges on the basis of rumor and uninformed opinion. The magnitude of that error is epic," Hirsch told Healthline.</p><p>Stukus agrees, noting that the harm of this proclamation is documented.</p><p>"Early on when the president touted the benefits of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin, people started to hoard this medicine, and state boards had to shut it down because they were getting so many prescriptions for this unproven therapy that it was not available for those who truly needed it, such as those who have lupus and autoimmune conditions," Stukus said.</p><p>He adds that calls to poison control centers increased after the president suggested using disinfectant to prevent contracting the new coronavirus.</p>
Listen to Science, Even When it Changes<p>When recommendations change or evidence flip-flops, skepticism may arise. However, Stukus says change is the beauty of science.</p><p>"That shows us that we can evolve, and if the evidence shows that our prior thoughts were incorrect, we need to be able to change our recommendations and advice based upon the best quality of evidence at the time," he said.</p><p>Pierre agrees.</p><p>"Science is an iterative process, whereby we arrive at facts and truth through repeated and controlled observations. That means that it's inherently self-correcting as we revise conclusions based on ongoing research. Scientific facts aren't immutable dogma chiseled on a tablet. They change based on the best available evidence we have at a given point in time," he said.</p><p>Because research of COVID-19 has only been underway for 6 months, information is evolving rapidly, and new information may contradict old.</p><p>"There's still much we don't know about exactly how [COVID-19] spreads, what effects it has on the body, or how to best treat it. That means that the best available evidence is preliminary, but that doesn't mean that we should ignore it or turn to other sources of information or opinion as if they're just as valid," Pierre said.</p><p>He explains that conspiracy theories based on mistrust lead to vulnerability to misinformation.</p><p>If people mistrust science because it sometimes "changes its mind," Pierre said, "that shouldn't be used to embrace other opinions based on no evidence at all, which are typically selected based on confirmation bias: what we want to believe rather than what the objective evidence supports."</p>
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