Transposing ghosts of photographic imagery into haunting paintings through various degrees of allegorical remove, Kim Kimbro explores the final voyage and tragic death of British explorer Robert Falcon Scott. Borrowing from J. M. W. Turner's habit of endowing romantic seascapes with literary themes, Kimbro resurrects fragments of the farewell letter to Scott's wife found on his frozen corpse and appropriates them as titles for her uncanny depictions of sled dogs, sailing vessels, and large marine creatures. Scott's final words thus underscore our awareness of life's fragility and transient nature.
Kimbro's ability to sculpt form and pull texture out of opaque passages and liquid washes of oil paint makes pleasurable a close inspection of her work. By maintaining veiled, matte-like finishes, and by purposefully referencing flaws found on the surface of the archival photographs she uses as source material, the artist deepens the sense of mystery in these images. Shifting through a nuance of colors but favoring ultramarine blue, Kimbro intensifies the chilly sense of isolation and loss conveyed by her solitary figures, adrift in the Antarctic.
by Diane Calder
Lawrence Asher Gallery
November 22 - December 20, 2008
About this collection
His predicament was barely imaginable - bitter cold, starvation, a sense of failure despite heroic effort, and the knowledge that he faced certain death. Amid all these emotions, Captain Robert Falcon Scott composed one final letter home from Antarctica. Dated March 12, 1912, it was found with his body, and those of his fellow explorers, eight months later.
The letter was to his wife, Kathleen, and was addressed "To my widow". Scott is one of Britain's great tragic explorers. In the race for the South Pole, Scott and his team arrived there on January 17, 1912, only to discover that the Norwegian Roald Amundsen had been there a month earlier. Demoralized, they turned to face the 800-mile journey back to their base hut and ship. They made it to within 11 miles of the hut, which was warm and stocked with food, before succumbing to frostbite, injuries, hunger and exhaustion.