Elizabeth Holtry

Region: South

Website: http://www.elizabethholtry.com

City / State: Frederick, MD

My recent series of paintings, titled Salt, explores the beauty and underlying fragility of the Bonneville Salt Flats in remote northwestern Utah. The remnant of an ancient saline lake and one of the flattest places on earth, this bleached and barren landscape is strikingly otherworldly.

Climate change, nearby potash mining, and motor racing are imperiling the stability of the salt flats, and natural processes continually transform the landscape. Rain covers the blinding white flats with a reflective pool of shallow water, causing the ground and sky to visually merge. Evaporation reveals the glittery salt crust. Erosion carves new textures and alters the terrain. My paintings focus on the landscape’s ethereal visual effects. Some juxtapose patterns in the crust with reflections of the sky in standing water. Others depict cracks in the parched earth, halite formations, or discordant tire tracks. To emphasize the mystery of the place, I exclude the sky and mountains. My aim is to foster environmental awareness and express my fascination with a landscape that is harsh, beautiful, and vulnerable.