Renaissance artist, Gregory Colbert, has travelled on 33 expeditions since 1992, photographing, filming, and presenting installations of his work on animals in their natural habitat. Ashes & Snow; Photo -- Youngna ParkPier 54, at 12th St. and the Hudson River, has been transformed into an industrial dock for an exhibition of Colbert's work in the Ashes and Snow exhibit that opened yesterday.

Gothamist and a few friends strolled down the chilly dock; large scale photographs, sepia-toned and printed on scrolls of heavyweight fibrous paper hung chest high depicting surrealistic images of elephants, eagles, leopards, whales, meerkats, and other creatures discovered on Colbert's journeys. Ashes & Snow; Photo -- Youngna Park
The photos seem superimposed or staged, as though whales and elephants were trained to pose in impossible positions, trunks and bodies in line with acrobatic human bodies. Colbert's intent, to breach the boundaries between "modern man and the totemic animals that touch our spirit," is well achieved by the pristine and minimalistic surroundings encapsulating man and animal in his imagery.

Dim lighting hits the water below the dock, creating a shimmering effect on the tent-like roof of Pier 54. Soft orchestral music emanates from speakers in the room, and like a crowd at the MET, the pier is hushed by the presence of art. At the far end of the pier, a video of imagery like his photographs documents the animals' motions in and out of water, providing the perspective from Colbert's camera. At times, the viewer sees the edge of a boat at the bottom of the screen, reminiscent of Apocalyse Now, where, floating through foreign waters, there is eminent mystery of what is next to come from both animal and Colbert, the image-maker.

Ashes and Snow will be on view until June 6, 2005 and tickets can be bought online or at the entrance to The Nomadic Museum at Pier 54.