Michelle Ott: Outer Space is Closer Than Antarctica
August 1–18, 2019
Artist's Reception: Saturday, August 17, 6-8pm | Facebook Event
Special event: Presentation by Dr. Fraka Harmsen, Antarctic explorer and geologist (see below for more info)
Sat. August 3, 1-2pm | Facebook Event
Special Event : Presentation by Dr. Fraka Harmsen Saturday August 3, 1pm
Join artist Michelle Ott and 1078 Gallery for a presentation by Dr. Fraka Harmsen, Antarctica explorer and geologist. Dr. Harmsen will show images from her two deep field expeditions and read excerpts from John Long's book about their shared expedition called "Mountains of Madness, A Scientist's Odyssey in Antarctica."
The Karman Line is the place that commonly represents the boundary between Earth and outer space. It is 62 miles above the surface of the earth. The distance between California (where I currently live) and Antarctica’s McMurdo Station (where I have lived) is 8,496 miles. This means that outer space is actually closer than Antarctica - when I learned this, I was just as amazed as you!
Antarctica is a remote geographic location and it’s challenging to reach. I cannot see it from my current home, yet I have lived there for up to five months at a time over the course of four separate trips. Outer space is so close physically that each night I share a view of it with anyone nearby looking up into the night sky. Still I’ll likely never visit space.
The content of this exhibition brings together three types of physical objects made to negotiate the tension inherent in living and working in Antarctica. Hand-cut photographs describe my first hand observation of Antarctica as a desert landscape and the human traces we inevitably leave. Black and white illustrations explain science projects and principles in an effort to understand the gained knowledge from Antarctica as a site for research and international scientific progress. And ice sheets—photographic quilts reflect Antarctic ice as a rapidly changing component in the dilemma of climate change.
Michelle Ott makes illustrations and hand-cut photographs focusing on observations of our physical and social world. Her work has been shown nationally and internationally most recently at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Berkeley Art Museum, and the Cranbrook Academy of Art. Her illustrations have appeared in the New York Times T Magazine online and are featured throughout The Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee (2012) and Candy Is Magic (2017) both published by Ten Speed Press. Ott has given visiting artist lectures at both UC Berkeley and Stanford University and has recently taught in the Art Practice department at Berkeley. Michelle is the recipient of several awards including a residency at the Atlantic Center for the Arts (2013), an exhibition and grant from The Institute for the Future (2014), a travel grant and exhibition at the College Art Association Conference (2015), and the Eisner Prize in Art Practice with a post-graduate fellowship residency from UC Berkeley (2015). For her service over four summer seasons at McMurdo Station in Antarctica Michelle has received the Antarctica Service Medal. She holds a BFA from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and an MFA from the University of California, Berkeley. Michelle works at The Bookstore and is currently the Artist in Residence at the Gateway Science Museum in Chico, California