ANGELL GALLERY presents The Snow Show, a group exhibition featuring images of the “white fluffy stuff” by five artists, working in photography, video, drawing and painting, and curated by gallery director Bill Clarke. The exhibition opens at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 16 and runs until March 16.
While shovelling our driveways and sidewalks or driving through blizzards, we may wish for a world without snow. But, over the last ten years, scientists concerned with global warming have examined different climate models that factor in winters lacking snowfall.
Think of the term ‘blankets of snow’ while looking at Steve Driscoll’s paintings. Like a duvet, snow keeps the air cool above it, but insulates what lies below. According to a study by the University of Wisconsin-Madison (reported by the British newspaper The Guardian), one winter completely without snow could see temperatures across the northern hemisphere increase by eight or nine degrees, while ground in other regions could become permanently frozen without the insulating effects of snow. “Soils in presently snow-covered areas, such as Siberia, would cool considerably, by up to 20C during winter. As a result, the permafrost would expand equator-wards by 500 to 1,000 kilometres [up to 600 miles], even though the overlying air warms by several degrees,” explains a climate change researcher quoted in the paper.
Snow’s insulating properties trap heat generated by the earth’s core beneath the surface. That trapped heat helps preserve tree roots and garden bulbs, warms animals that hibernate underground, and can preserve enough plant life for animals, like the deer ambling across Laura Millard’s images, to forage over the winter.
Agencies like the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Colorado stress snow’s function in moderating the earth’s temperature by reflecting solar energy back to the atmosphere, and containing methane and other gases beneath the earth’s surface, particularly in the Arctic. Less snow also means diminished runoff into rivers, lakes and other water supplies as the seasons change, as seen in Dan Hudson’s video. According to the Centre, decreasing snow levels are already raising concerns about dwindling water supplies across India and southwest Asia.
On a lighter note, healthcare experts also see the benefits of snow. “Consider snow nature’s way of giving you a free workout,” reads a caption in one popular lifestyle magazine. Building a snowman like the one in Darren Rigo’s photograph, or tobogganing and skiing as in Vessna Perunovich’s drawings, are fun ways to keep fit. Or, walk through the snow to an art gallery to take in a show.
– Bill Clarke