UAB’s AEIVA presents artist Allyson Comstock, “Antarctica: A Disappearing Continent” from Jan. 13-March 21

Through her color penciled drawings, Allyson Comstock has managed to capture the grandeur of the landscapes and the subtle, yet equally magnificent, micro-environments, says polar scientist James McClintock.

Antarctica2"Micro, Macro and In-between #3," (detail: view near Aitcho Island) 2014. Chalk pastel on cotton rag and handmade paper. Courtesy of John Cowin Jr.Works by Alabama-based artist Allyson Comstock created in Antarctica, alongside scientists engaged in climate change research, will spark conversation with an exhibition and expert panel discussion at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Alabama-based artist Allyson Comstock lived and made art in Antarctica in 2013 as part of the National Science Foundation Antarctic Artists and Writers program. Her series of drawings from that time, “Antarctica: Micro, Macro, and In-between,” questions how society views and understands the larger natural world. Each triptych in the series contains three perspectives of the landscape of Antarctica: the macro, the micro and the artist’s view — the in-between.

Those works, as well as artwork created in response, will be featured in the exhibition “Antarctica: A Disappearing Continent” on display from Jan. 13-March 21, 2020, at UAB’s Abroms-Engel Institute for the Visual Arts, 1221 10th Ave. South. An opening reception is set for 6 p.m. Friday, Jan. 24.

Comstock, who is also the juror for the 44th Annual Juried Student Exhibition at UAB, will give a lecture at 5 p.m., one hour before the reception, in AEIVA’s Hess Family Lecture Hall. The lecture, reception and the exhibition are free and open to the public.

To foster a deeper understanding and conversation about Antarctica, Comstock created postcards from images taken during her time in Antarctica, which she mailed to people across the world. This group of people, from myriad professions, created artwork in response to her postcards, resulting in the series “Responding to Antarctica.” AEIVA’s iteration of the series will also feature response pieces created by UAB students, painting a picture of the impact of Antarctica, the disappearing continent. 

Polar scientist and Endowed University Professor of Polar and Marine Biology James McClintock, Ph.D., in the College of Arts and Sciences, who has worked in Antarctica for three decades, says he has come to appreciate how difficult it is to capture the essence of this wondrous continent. McClintock will participate in a panel discussion on climate change with Comstock at 6 p.m. Feb. 5, 2020.

Antarctica4 "Micro, Macro and In-between # 4," (detail: view near Anvers Island) 2014. Chalk pastel on cotton rag paper. Courtesy of John Cowin Jr. “Through her color penciled drawings, Allyson Comstock has managed to capture the grandeur of the landscapes and the subtle yet equally magnificent micro-environments,” McClintock said. “Her collective exhibit, which also includes postcards that speak to the Antarctic experience, captures the beauty and mystique of a continent threatened by rapid global climate change.” 

AEIVA Senior Director John Fields, MFA, says Comstock’s work presents an alternative and accessible entry point for exploring an issue that is critically relevant to the times in which we currently live.

“At AEIVA, we are very interested in artists who are using their work to offer new perspectives in regard to larger social and cultural conversations,” Fields said. “I think all forms of art, visual, music, film, poetry and more, have an innate ability to present complex and sometimes polarizing topics in a way that promotes beneficial dialogue and discussion. Comstock’s work is a great example of this.” 

AEIVA is open to the public from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday and 12-6 p.m. Saturday. It is closed Sundays and holidays. For more information, visit