Earth Works: Mapping the Anthropocene

September 5, 2017 - January 7, 2018

The Norton Museum of Art will present a timely exhibition that depicts how humans are directly and indirectly impacting the planet. Earth Works: Mapping the Anthropocene will feature 22 works by Justin Brice Guariglia, a transdisciplinary artist, who in 2015 and 2016, flew seven times with NASA as part of Operation IceBridge, a survey mission of Greenland to study how melting glaciers affect sea level rise. Guariglia’s photographic works, which can be viewed as blurring the line between photography and painting, explore our current ecological crisis. Ranging in scale from as small as 2.5 x 3.3 feet to as large as 12 x 16 feet, these images illustrate Greenland’s melting and deteriorating glacial ice sheets and sea ice in stunning detail and on a monumental scale. Other images were influenced by the impact of agriculture and mining on the Earth’s surface. Curated by Tim B. Wride, the Norton’s William and Sarah Ross Soter Curator of Photography.  

The Anthropocene – the age in which humans’ permanent mark on the entire planet, from the far reaches of the atmosphere to the lowest depths of the ocean – represents a new era in geologic history. The images Guariglia took during his flights with NASA, as well as previous works taken from his travels across Asia, serve to illustrate with visual evidence, and through metaphor, the complexity of human impact on the planet.

“Justin’s works mapping man’s impact on the planet range far beyond making images that are formally and aesthetically compelling. His use of materials in the final product—the object that carries the image—is what truly sets the work apart from his contemporaries,” said Wride. “Nominally a photographer, his camera is only his first tool. Guariglia uses unique acrylic printing processes, which he is pioneering, to create his works.”

Guariglia uses an ultra-archival printing process to build layers of acrylic on substrates giving the works a physical depth and dimension. Incorporating materials such as polystyrene, gold-, palladium- and pewter-leafed panels, and aircraft grade aluminum. 


Watch the announcement live from Lincoln Center
Justin Guariglia on stage with NASA's Deputy Administrator Dava Newman, and NASA's Chief of Earth Sciences and Astronaut Piers Sellers discussing his work and collaboration with NASA as an artist in relation to climate change.



Organized by the Norton Museum of Art. 

This exhibition is made possible by the generosity of Vanessa and Anthony Beyer. 

Additional support is provided by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, The William and Sarah Ross Soter Photography Fund, and The Sydell and Arthur I. Meyer Endowment Fund.