Artist-in-Residence shows dark, moody side of Glacier

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Working mostly with charcoal, Glacier National Park’s June Artist-in-Residence Amory Abbott chose to focus on dramatic, moody scenes within the Park. (Chris Peterson photo)

Amory Abbott’s artwork of Glacier National Park captures how the park often looks outside of the two months of summer — dark and moody and impressive.

Abbott was Glacier National park’s artist-in-residence during most of the month of June. He works primarily in charcoal, a process that is both additive and subtractive.

In some places of the paper, he’s adding charcoal. In others, he’s rubbing it off with an eraser.

A lot of his work centers on fire ecology and climate change.

During his tenure here, Abbott’s drawings definitely leaned toward the dramatic and moody side of Glacier Park, with towering peaks shrouded in clouds and storms. In one piece, lightning strikes a tree with white hot light.

Abbott has a master’s of fine art from the Pacific Northwest College of Art and teaches illustration in Vancouver, British Columbia at the Emily Carr University of Art + Design.

He had never been to Glacier before.

“I was a bit overwhelmed when I arrived,” he admitted. “I feel like I only scratched the surface in a month.”

Abbott hopes to return on his own later in the year.

The impacts of climate change are part of the mood of his work.

“There’s a lot of talk about turning back the clock, which doesn’t seem possible,” he said.

Abbott takes a dim view of the future of humanity, but also has hope.

“Most of us probably won’t survive,” he notes. “But think about how amazing this place will look when we’re gone.”

Abbott recalled a former art instructor who said the best work is like setting a trap.

“The best kind of art is a tickle and a slap,” he said.

You can view the pieces from Glacier and others on his website at: http://www.amoryabbott.com

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