Margaret Elliot
publications and reviews

- Forms
- Tents
  (echoes series)
- Cape Bird Images
- Icescapes 1
- Icescapes 2
Coastal Profiles
The Human Imprint
(obsolete structures)

Land Forms

Antarctica: Cape Bird Images

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In July1998 I learned that my application to the Artists To Antarctica Scheme had been successful. I was going to travel to Antarctica with Margaret Mahy. Antarctica has always held a fascination for me a landscape of pure form. In retrospect painting for me has been an attempt to reduce a landscape to its essentials.

Sitting out on the Ross Ice Shelf, drawing Mount Erebus, I realized it looked deceptively close because the seemingly endless plain of Ice surrounding it giving no indicators as to scale. It was then that I really became aware of the strangeness of the place. What is most significant is absence, not so much what is there but what isn't. Margaret & I had a discussion about the subtle variations of colour in a landscape of snow and ice. In fact very little of it was pure white, for example, the Ross Ice Shelf was a sort of muddy reddish grey.

The following day we flew in a helicopter to Cape Bird an environment of ice cliffs, glaciers, volcanic forms and penguins. The drawings I produced there form the basis for a series of works for exhibition. The thick layer of ice flowing over raised land produces a distinctive dome shape, ,which was usually visible in the Cape Bird landscape. The play of light upon this made the boundary between land and sky ambiguous. This curvilinear shape constantly recurs in many of my Antarctic paintings. The jagged and sinister tooth like forms of the pack ice thrown against the shore which formed a boundary between sea and land, made an interesting contrast. I have been exploring the tensions this creates, a fluid landscape with cutting edges.

Click on the images below to view full image - please note larger images may take longer depending on your internet connection.

"A Day At
The Beach"

"Collision Zone "

"Eroded Ice
Cape Bird"

"Fluid Zones"

"Framed View "

Cape Bird 1"

Cape Bird 2"

"Ice Formations"


"Realm Of The
Snow Queen"


"The Journey
Phase 1"

"The Journey
Phase 3"


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