Ephemeral messages ranging from eight inches to eight feet in height stand in public settings for just hours before they begin to disappear, melting into the snow or concrete beneath them. Artist Nicole Dextras makes social and environmental statements that are present just long enough to incite questions in passersby, making the meaning of the words themselves seem vulnerable and transient.
The letters are made using wooden molds and sometimes, in the case of the larger installations, must be propped up as they start to melt – adding to the message of the word, as in the case of ‘LEGACY.’ Many of the pieces question human ownership of natural resources, and the way in which we take over and consume the world around us.
“The use of text in the landscape relates to concrete and visual poetry but with the added twist of having the word’s meaning alter with the melting process,” says Dextras. “Sometimes the words relate directly to the landscape such as “silence” where the bucolic idealism of nature is transformed by the sound of the crashing waves behind it.”
“Typography absorbs light, melts and eventually leave son trace; these words have more in common with dreams and oral stories than linear language. Words cast in ice interrupt our literal narratives, allowing a more integrated reading of the land we inhabit, as opposed to the past and current commodification of land as limitless resource. I therefore choose to create within an ephemeral vernacular to accentuate the collective physical and psychological experience of flux and change.”