The Icebergs by Frederic Edwin Church, 1861 (Romanticism)
Part of the artist's series Possibilities for Representation, this painting is part of an exploration of climate change and the ideological forces of its denial. This work is a copy of Frederic Edwin Church’s The Icebergs (1869), the original canvas being an example of a pre-industrial, romantic view of nature. Powhida's choice to recreate this image is a reference to American nostalgia for a past that only exists in an uncritical, historical imagination.
Powhida's work is a satirical and frequently political look into his own experience of New York’s contemporary art market. He frequently overlaps references to different discourses to explore the contradictory nature of art making today. This painting finds additional context in the viewers' awareness of the existential threat of the climate crisis.
For more than a decade, William Powhida’s work has provided a satirical, political and sometimes despairing window into New York’s contemporary art market. He overlaps multiple discourses in his paintings, referencing art history alongside ecological activism and other social issues. A former art critic, Powhida examines the contradictory and sometimes farcical contours of “contemporary art.”
William Powhida was born in 1976 in New York City.
Exhibitions showing Powhida’s work include: Twenty Twenty at The Aldrich Contemporary Museum of Art in Ridgefield, Connecticut (2020); Complicities at Postmasters Gallery in New York City (2019); After ‘After the Contemporary’ at Charlie James Gallery in Los Angeles, California; and After the Contemporary at The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield, Connecticut (2017).
This work is a copy of Frederic Edwin Church’s "The Icebergs" (1869). The artist's choice to recreate this image is a reference to American nostalgia for a past that only exists in a historical imagination unaware of the existential threat of climate change.More