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Alexis Rockman: The Great Lakes Cycle

Organized by the Grand Rapids Art Museum
27 January – 29 April 2018
Touring Exhibition
three large watercolors of lakes

Installation view of Alexis Rockman: The Great Lakes Cycle at the Grand Rapids Art Museum
Photo courtesy Grand Rapids Art Museum

paintings of lakes

Installation view of Alexis Rockman: The Great Lakes Cycle at the Grand Rapids Art Museum
Photo courtesy Grand Rapids Art Museum

watercolors of fish on blue wall

Installation view of Alexis Rockman: The Great Lakes Cycle at the Grand Rapids Art Museum
Photo courtesy Grand Rapids Art Museum

watercolors of fish on blue wall

Installation view of Alexis Rockman: The Great Lakes Cycle at the Grand Rapids Art Museum
Photo courtesy Grand Rapids Art Museum

watercolors of fish on blue wall

Installation view of Alexis Rockman: The Great Lakes Cycle at the Grand Rapids Art Museum
Photo courtesy Grand Rapids Art Museum

painting of octopus under lake under factory

Alexis Rockman
Forces of Change, 2017
oil and acrylic on wood panel
72 x 144 inches (182,9 x 365,8 cm)
SW 17354
Photo by Claire Voon

realistic painting of a lake with fish below water, swimming moose, and flying ducks

Alexis Rockman
Cascade, 2015
oil and alkyd on wood
72 x 144 inches (182,9 x 365,8 cm)
SW 15403
Photo by Claire Voon

painting of plane underwater

Alexis Rockman
Spheres of Influence, 2016
oil and alkyd on wood panel
72 x 144 inches (182,9 x 365,8 cm)
SW 17353
Photo by Claire Voon

painting of lake with green water

Alexis Rockman
Watershed, 2015
oil and alkyd on wood
72 x 144 inches (182,9 x 365,8 cm)
SW 15404
Photo by Claire Voon

Press release

Alexis Rockman: The Great Lakes Cycle explores the past, present, and future of North America’s Great Lakes–one of the world’s most emblematic and ecologically significant ecosystems.

 

This multifaceted project was initiated in 2013 when artist Alexis Rockman embarked on a research tour of the Great Lakes region. The centerpiece of the exhibition is a suite of five mural-sized paintings which explore separate themes that emerged during Rockman’s travels. These are accompanied by several large-scale watercolors and field drawings–monochromatic animal and plant studies made from site-sourced organic material such as mud, sand, coal, and leaves.

 

One of the world’s great natural treasures, the Great Lakes—Erie, Huron, Ontario, Michigan, and Superior—form an interconnected system that is among the most beautiful, economically important, and ecologically complex regions on the planet. The Great Lakes, which hold over 20% of the world’s fresh water, contain some of the most precious resources for the future of humankind and life on earth. Rockman’s series celebrates the natural majesty and global importance of the Great Lakes while exploring how they are threatened by factors including climate change, globalization, invasive species, mass agriculture and urban sprawl. While there has been some success in reversing these trends, the exhibition of these dramatic works will serve to inspire wider understanding and draw greater attention to the urgency of these issues.

 

Accompanying the exhibition is a catalogue published by the Grand Rapids Art Museum in association with Michigan State University Press. The catalogue was written by Dana Friis-Hansen, with contributions by Jeff Alexander and Thyrza Nichols Goodeve, and a forward by Mark Van Putten, CEO of Wege Foundation.

 

 

Following its debut in Grand Rapids, Alexis Rockman: The Great Lakes Cycle will travel to the following venues:

Chicago Cultural Center: 2 June – 1 October 2018
Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland: 19 October – 27 January 2019
Haggerty Museum of Art of Marquette University, Milwaukee: 8 February – 19 May 2019
Weisman Art Museum, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis: 5 October 2019 – 5 January 2020
Flint Institute of Arts: 9 May – 16 August 2020

Artists in this Exhibition

Exhibition press

Chicago Tribune logo
Alexis Rockman's large-scale works bring an essential show to the Cultural Center
by Lori Waxman
24 July 2018
Hyperallergic logo
Alexis Rockman Paints the Past and Possible Futures of the Great Lakes
by Claire Voon
12 March 2018
Brooklyn Rail logo
In Conversation: Alexis Rockman
with Tom McGlynn
January 2018
New York Times logo
Alexis Rockman Portrays the Great Lakes in Glory and Decline
by Alina Tugend
21 October 2017