Arctic Ocean Diversity

Susan Farnham, a Fairbanks artist, has been working with Dr. Bodil Bluhm and Dr. Rolf Gradinger, biological oceanographers at the UAF School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, to create artwork that celebrates the northern creatures they study.

The exhibit is based on the findings of the Arctic Ocean Diversity project, an international effort to catalog life in arctic seas and sea ice. The project is led by Bluhm, Gradinger and Russ Hopcroft, another biological oceanographer at UAF. The ArCOD project is part of the global Census of Marine Life, which seeks to assess and explain the diversity, distribution and abundance of life in the world’s oceans.

The exhibit was held during the month of October 2008 at the Well Street Art Company in Fairbanks, Alaska and featured paintings by Susan Farnham and photographs by Bodil Bluhm, Rolf Gradinger, Russ Hopcroft, Kevin Raskoff and Shawn Harper.

Farnham focused on painting the sea ice realm, the pelagic realm and the benthic realm of the Arctic Marine System. Though her paintings are informed by science and the real world, her style exists somewhere between representation and abstraction. The subject matter, ice, sand, fish, jelly fish, starfish, shellfish and plankton, takes liberty with size, space, color, and form with an attempt to capture movement and light characteristic of the mysterious world these creatures live in. More art by Farnham can be seen at

The exhibit commemorates the International Polar Year, a global initiative among scientists to better understand the polar regions of the Arctic and Antarctic and is a unique opportunity to connect art and science.