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Fragile Skies

Carl Beam, 1995


  • Printmaking


Carl Beam






76.2 x 55.9 cm; 92 x 72.4 cm (framed)

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Ojibwe artist Carl Beam revisits and reimagines complex histories through the juxtaposition of both found and personal archival photographs. By suturing together temporally disparate images through serigraphy, Beam forms connections through time that provoke and unsettle. Fictions and facts coalesce in his montages, shifting the act of looking from passivity to activity. In Fragile Skies, he presents a detail from A moose walking, Photogravure after Eadweard Muybridge (1887) above an image of industrial smokestacks. Impeding upward into the sky, the antlers and columns are in visual harmony as they mirror one another and allude to the newspaper headline. In the bottom right, what appears to be a family snapshot of an Indigenous woman wearing contemporary clothing, stabilizes the unexpected compositional association, placing a piece of personal history within a narrative of ecological collapse.