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Art gets Icy treatment


Beyond the awe-inspiring, yet cheesy ice sculpture, the idea of using ice as a medium for art is not one that’s immediately obvious. But artist Tharien Smith and photographer Bruce Boyd have created ice art of an entirely different nature.

After Tharien encases haphazard floral arrangements into blocks of ice, the duo set out to find interesting lighting and backgrounds against which to photograph the installation – literally frozen in time.

‘I find it fascinating that ice can preserve something and at the same time also enhance or distort the beauty of it.  For a few fleeting moments, we are treated to this preserved beauty, the past encapsulated perfectly, before the ice melts and flowers wilt. The only constant is change,’ Tharien explains.

ice2 'We shot this piece early one morning in a pond meant for dogs in De Waal Park. We had about two minutes before the first dog came plunging in.' - Tharien Smith

She adds that each flower arrangement reacts differently when frozen or immersed in water, creating bubbles or cracks, with fascinating results.

‘[R]andom, strange and unpredictable things happen, which makes it very exciting!’

They've named the series '0˚C', the temperature at which water freezes.

ice3 'This piece was shot in a mountain pool at dawn. The flowers were initially covered in bubbles but once it melted the delicate texture of the petals were revealed and we got our shot.' - Tharien Smith

'Combining flowers and ice has given us a new way to portray a universal subject,' says Tharien, remarking that flowers play an important role in many social exchanges.

'The clinical nature of the ice and the emotional nature of the flowers are combined, allowing us to look at flowers in a completely different way.'

It is Tharien who creates the composition and together they work to get the perfect photograph of the frozen result.

'Bruce is a master photographer. He is very meticulous and a perfectionist.  The correct time of day, angle of light and the location is of the utmost importance to him. There are literally thousands of shots that never made it because the conditions were not perfect,' says Tharien.

unspecified 'I am particularly interested in anatomy and the fusion of ligaments, muscles, nerves and all things related to the body. These particular pieces were found on the beach. I arranged them in a certain way that appealed to me but by the morning they had drifted and settled in their own place in the ice. We shot it at dawn in a marshy area in Betty's Bay.' - Tharien Smith

After a year working on this new project, Tharien says they aim to create a large collection of prints and even to bring out a coffee table book in the near future.

For now, you can order limited edition prints of the artworks, which are done onto Hahnemuhle paper. Visit zerodegrees.co.za to learn more.

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