Glacier Terminus, 2019 - Michel Comte from Light series

Glacier Terminus

246 x 121 x 7.5 cm
Ink, pigment, acrylic on iron metal panel

Glacier Terminus stretches along a 25-meter-long, 2.5-meter high wall in the artist’s studio. The work is made up of 21 iron plates treated with forty to sixty layers of ink, acrylic paint, salt dust, and oxidized carbon in a months- long process. The source of inspiration is the vanishing face of the 14th of July glacier in northwestern Spitsbergen, which Comte has visited several times in the past.

Entitled Glacier Terminus, the work references the end point of a glacier at any given time and also serves as a reminder that glaciers are always either advancing or receding, in a process of endless motion. The mass of Glacier Terminus reflects the physical and emotional impact of an actual glacier in Spitsbergen that Comte has visited on several occasions., while the dripping, caking and ruptures of slight white and blue on the surface are reminiscent of the magnificence of such a glacier seen from close up, while the black and rust ultimately return us to the irreversible traces of mankind’s effect upon nature.

Comte associates his use of pure black pigment with the dust (cryoconite) that has settled on so many of the world’s melting glaciers, blown in by strong winds and accelerating the ice’s melting process; it can also be interpreted as a metaphor for the decay currently happening in many of the icy areas of the world.