"Athabasca Ice Fall"
Jan Kabatoff, "Athabasca Ice Fall," photograph, 2009.
Glacier: A Journey, September 12 to November 12, 2009, Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies, Banff
BY: Patricia Dawn Robertson
“I don’t want my work to become a science project,” says Canmore artist Jan Kabatoff. “I want to retain my own response to the glacier.” Kabatoff’s latest project, Glacier: A Journey, began in 2005 when she started documenting the glaciers near her studio at The Banff Centre, a project that later expanded to two other continents. The result of that ice-filled journey is a magnificent multimedia installation slated for the Whyte Museum this fall. These disappearing icons, as she calls the glaciers, have become an obsession for the artist. She’s pulled together paintings, mould impressions, hand-dyed textiles, photographs and audio tracks on the subject. “Ice and water are metaphors for change and transformation in my work,” she says. The research and documentation for this massive project has stretched the limits of Kabatoff’s artwork, and her life. “I was trekking up to the glaciers and hanging over crevasses to record the sounds of melting,” she recalls. “It was pretty challenging.” She adds, “I have a feeling of awe regarding these massive, massive bodies of ice. And they could be gone within our lifetime.”