Diane Burko Puts Climate Change on a Canvas with 'Politics of Snow'

Burko Politics of Snow Nunatak
Credit: Locks Gallery/Diane Burko.

You've seen the before and after climate change pictures. What about before and after climate change paintings? An artist named Diane Burko has captured the Earth's rapidly changing landscape with "Politics of Snow," an exhibition at Locks Gallery in Philadelphia. Climate change deniers are welcome to open their eyes. The show runs through March 13. Scientists have been warning us for years about the impacts of human-induced climate change brought on by the burning of fossil fuels. And, no, this year's snowy winter doesn't disprove climate change. Also, global warming hasn't gone out of style, it just describes one aspect of climate change.

Back to the paintings. They focus on epic views of glaciers and remote peaks in Alaska, Montana and the Alps. Burko works from black and white archival photographs to create her art, reinterpreting the old photos in color, and leaving some of the canvas empty, as if some of the paint has dried up, too. She juxtaposes historical and modern views. The side-by-side paintings make you wonder what the modern view will look like 10, 20 or more years from now.

Praise for the exhibition has come from Ian Berry, an art curator from Skidmore College, who wrote an essay on the paintings that was handed out on opening night, Feb. 5. Burko is a graduate of Skidmore, has exhibited works throughout the United States and has paintings hanging in museums including the Art Institute of Chicago, Delaware Art Museum, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Woodmere Art Museum.

Eileen Claussen, president of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, had this to say about "Politics of Snow":

"Diane's work connects us to the enormity of what is happening in the natural world and the amazing speed with which these changes are taking place. Even as Diane documents how things are changing, she also reminds us of the stunning beauty of nature - and, in turn, the urgency of doing everything in our power to protect it."

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