Shifting Landscapes: Zaria Forman

If you’re like me, you probably did your fair share of finger painting when you were a kid. My mom used to tell me how she would pick me up from school and I would be covered in paint, leaving her to wonder how much actually made it onto the paper. I still often use my fingers to add texture or blend color when working on my mixed media pieces – something I rediscovered reading a biography on Robert Rauschenberg – but my skills are nowhere nearly as impressive as those of artist Zaria Forman. Using only her fingers and soft pastels on paper, Forman creates remarkably detailed renderings of the natural world, particularly brilliant is her handling of water and light. Inspired by childhood travels with her family to a variety of remote locations, storms, seascapes and caustic reflections are her stock in trade and her work is absolutely stunning. In 2012, she led an Arctic expedition to Greenland to bring awareness to polar melt as a result of climate change and the resulting large-scale works beautifully capture the austere beauty of such a dramatic landscape. From Greenland, she traveled to the Maldives, the lowest and flattest country in the world in order to “create a body of work celebrating and representing a nation that could be entirely underwater within this century.” While the Maldives work is different in tone, it is no less impressive in scope, nor in its intent to raise awareness to an issue that will ultimately affect us all.



To see more exceptional work by Zaria Forman, be sure to visit her site. All images ©Zaria Forman.

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