Alexis Rockman, American, born 1962. Forces of Change, 2017. Oil and acrylic on wood panel, 72 × 144 in. (182.9 × 365.8 cm). Collection of Jonathan O'Hara Gallery

Alexis Rockman: The Great Lakes Cycle

July 11, 2020 - September 27, 2020

Henry Gallery Hodge Gallery

This multi-faceted exhibition by New York-based artist Alexis Rockman examines the forces—past, present, and future—shaping the Great Lakes, one of the most emblematic and ecologically significant environments in the world. The project features work by the artist based on his travel, interviews, and extensive research in the Great Lakes Region. The Great Lakes­—Erie, Huron, Ontario, Michigan, and Superior­—hold 20% of the world’s fresh water and form an interconnected, complex system that provides drinking water for more than 60 million people and habitation for more than 3,500 species of plants, mammals, birds, amphibians, and fish. Meanwhile, the lakes are impacted by massive threats to their preservation, including climate change, globalization, mass agriculture, and urban sprawl. 

Rockman’s research in the region has yielded his most ambitious body of work to date, anchored by panoramic paintings exploring themes he uncovered during his Great Lakes expeditions to eight states and provinces in the U.S. and Canada. The paintings capture the physical and ecological transformation of the lakes through time, beginning with the Pleistocene Era, moving through the centuries to present-day concerns and looking forward to imagine the future.

Alexis Rockman: The Great Lakes Cycle is organized by the Grand Rapids Art Museum, with support generously provided by the Wege Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Frey Foundation, and LaFontsee Galleries and Framing.

Sponsored by

From the Exhibition

  • Alexis Rockman, American, born 1962. Watershed, 2015. Oil and alkyd on wood panel, 72 × 144 in. (182.9 × 365.8 cm). Collection of Dr. Sheila Skaff

  • Alexis Rockman, American, born 1962. Upper Peninsula, 2017. Watercolor, ink, and acrylic on paper, 74 × 52 in. (188 × 132.1 cm). Framed: 80 × 58 1/4 × 3 in. (203.2 × 148 × 7.6 cm) Collection of Jonathan O'Hara Gallery

  • Alexis Rockman, American, born 1962. White Pine, 2017. Sand from Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes and acrylic polymer on paper, 9 × 12 1/2 in. (22.9 × 31.8 cm) Framed: 12 11/16 × 15 7/8 × 1 1/2 in. (32.2 × 40.3 × 3.8 cm). Courtesy of the Artist and Sperone Westwater, New York

  • Alexis Rockman, American, born 1962. Ice Fishing, 2017. Watercolor, ink, and acrylic on paper, 74 1/4 × 52 in. (188.6 × 132.1 cm) Framed: 80 × 58 1/4 × 3 in. (203.2 × 148 × 7.6 cm). Maloney Family Collection

  • Alexis Rockman, American, born 1962. Bald Eagle, 2017. Sand from Saugatuck and acrylic polymer on paper, 9 × 12 1/2 in. (22.9 × 31.8 cm) Framed: 12 11/16 × 15 7/8 × 1 1/2 in. (32.2 × 40.3 × 3.8 cm). Courtesy of the Artist and Sperone Westwater, New York

  • Alexis Rockman, American, born 1962. Bubbly Creek, 2017. Watercolor, ink, and acrylic on paper, 73 1/2 × 52 in. (186.7 × 132.1 cm) Framed: 80 × 58 1/4 × 3 in. (203.2 × 148 × 7.6 cm). Courtesy of the Artist and Sperone Westwater, New York