Alice Hargrave’s work incorporates sound, video, and photographs within layered installations addressing environmental insecurity, habitat loss, and species extinctions.
Projects bridge art and science such as Sea Change, underwater photography exploring coral reef health and sound wave patterns from fish vocalizations and The Conference of the Lakes, “portraits” of lakes from seven continents that use data and photography to show how each lake is affected by climate change. Collaborating with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, she creates abstract “portraits” of threatened bird species by photographing sonograms of their
vocalizations using actual colors like the yellow of the eyes of a Snowy Owl.
Hargrave’s project, Tracing Audubon—1832 / 2021 (last calls), consists of an audio piece, framed photographs, and a wallpaper installation. The works were inspired by ornithologist and artist John James Audubon’s 1832 trip to the Florida Keys and the Dry Tortugas. During that visit, he observed and painted 22 birds to create his iconic “Birds of the Florida Keys” portfolio. Hargrave similarly completed an artist residency at the Studios at Key West, Florida, and traveled to the Dry Tortugas to re-imagine the original 22 species in that portfolio. Rather than making illustrations of the Roseate Spoonbill, Great Blue Heron, Anhinga, American Flamingo, and Great Egret, she uses images and sound to convey
how it feels to search for the birds in their natural settings.
Roseate Spoonbill, calls—a pink wallpaper installation spanning 21.5 feet—fills the space with images of the sound waves created by the bird’s call (rendered in the startlingly bright fuchsia of its own feathers), while a new audio work plays vocalizations of the original 22 avian species interspersed with field recordings of the most invasive species, ourselves.