• A dreadful rumbling is heard, a menacing, guttural rumbling like the onset of an earthquake. Then comes a cracking, a disjointed angular sound as a thin vein runs along the mountaintop. Finally, a large chunk of ice cracks from the rest of the structure, descending slowly into the ocean. A close-up of a melancholic family of polar bears plays out along with faint violin noises. Nearly all of us have seen such a scene in a nature documentary about the melting ice caps. 

     

    What we do not often see is the truly fearsome aftermath of these crackling, massive ice structures plummeting into the ocean in real-time. Rising water levels are not only a concern because of the environmental implications, but because of the unimaginable human consequences that we will face in just a matter of years. As our sea levels ascend progressively through the years, even in cases where such ascension seems negligible, millions of human beings will lose their livelihoods, their nations, and their homes. Where will they go? What will they do? How will the rest of the world respond to the mass refugeehood of men, women, and children who had the misfortune of being born in the wrong place at the wrong time?

     

    Alice de Kruijs has, in a sense, recently departed from her usual treatment of the subject matter in her work. At one point in time, it seemed that de Kruijs’s series would treat a people, a visual concept, and an underlying message; the three, in essence, were one in the sense that they were so intrinsically related to one another that there was no way to know where any single element ended and the other commenced. At the end of the series, she would progress to the next, wholly different series. 

     

    De Kruijs’s departure lies in her consistency with a singular concept: the consequences of flooding in particularly vulnerable areas. Her home country of The Netherlands is a prime example, with about a third of its land beneath sea level and its highly coastal populations. see her expression of her concern for her homeland in When the Sea Rises. Henceforth, she continues to look at similar communities, such as the native communities of small Oceanic communities in the Pacific (Paradise Island), and the women in rural communities throughout Bangladesh (The Waters of Bangladesh). With each coming series, this underlying theme of the human cost of flooding is reapplied. However, an exciting element to unveil is how de Kruijs’s idea of concept and image are mixed in these cases. These series all feature exclusively women, some sporting swimming gear, and what seems to be ocean waste, coupled with photographs of the terrain itself. They all feature bright, vivid colors, some to the point where they almost look desert-like despite depicting water. Yes, these are certainly different series that tackle similar topics, but for the first time, de Kruijs’s body of work series is linked through various visual motifs. 

     

    These recent series tell the story of an artist who has found her footing in an integrative approach to developing conceptual photographic bodies of work. De Kruijs is now breaking her own rules in the name of a subject that hits close to home, and there is not a more important subject to choose right now.

     

    Alice De Kruijs does not provide the answers to what the future holds for women who are challenged by increasingly volatile weather conditions, oceanic communities at risk of losing their cultural identity at the hands of flooding, or even her own native country as our shared climate continues to change. However, what she is providing is a visual narrative (much like the Discovery Channel does for the polar bears) that allows us to more easily consume the problem at hand. Just as the potent scene from a Discovery channel program begs us to hope for the wellbeing of the polar bears, so too does de Kruijs’s imagery call us to consider the future of our fellow man. 

  • The Repetition of Thematic Motifs

    "An exciting element to unveil is how de Kruijs’s idea of concept and image are mixed together in these cases. These series all feature exclusively women, some sporting swimming gear and what seems to be ocean waste, coupled by photographs of the terrain itself. Yes, these are certainly different series that tackle similar topics, but for the first time, de Kruijs’s body of work series is linked through various visual motifs."

     

  • The Landscapes

    "Alice de Kruijs has, in a sense, recently departed from her usual treatment of subject matter in her work. At one point in time, it seemed that de Kruijs’s series would treat a people, a visual concept, and an underlying message; the three, in essence, were one in the sense that they were so intrinsically related to one another that there was no way to know where any one element ended and the other commenced. At the end of the series she would progress to the next, wholly different series."