Anna McKee

American, b. 1959

Depth Strata V, 2011
Etching, collography, and chine collé
Image size: 24 x 18 in. (61 x 45.7 cm); paper size: 30 x 22 in (76.2 x 55.9 cm

Anna McKee’s fascination with the analysis of ice led to a series of abstract prints that evoke the beauty and natural history of Antarctica. In 2009–10, the artist journeyed to the ice with the Antarctic Artists and Writers Program. Working in the West Antarctic Ice Sheet Divide field camp, she documented both the landscape and the ice core project.

In Depth Strata V, McKee interprets two types of scientific data: ice penetrating radar (IPR) and ice core samples. Both have become invaluable research tools by providing a record of the earth’s climate. IPR measures the thickness of ice and helps scientists locate the best core samples. Ice cores, drilled out from glaciers and ice sheets, contain tiny bubbles of air, carbon dioxide, and methane trapped over thousands of years. By examining layers of bubbles and sediment, scientists can analyze the steady rise in carbon dioxide since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. Combining her observations of this data, McKee addresses the “memory” of the natural world and the environmental records of human influence.