How ‘Eco-Warrior’ Alexis Rockman’s Trippy Paintings Of Shipwrecks Confront The Climate Crisis

Medusa (2020). (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Shipwrecks have stoked fear in our collective imaginations throughout history. But what can these disasters at sea say about humans’ damaging impact on the planet? That’s something artist Alexis Rockman confronts in his new series of psychedelic, large-scale paintings on view at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem.

“Alexis Rockman has been described as an eco-warrior,” curator Trevor Smith explained. “His weapons in that battle are really paintings.”

Smith said the artist is driven to create complicated, even confusing visual narratives about unintended consequences. He helped organize the show, “Alexis Rockman: Shipwrecks,” which was curated by Andrea Grover of Guild Hall in East Hampton, New York.

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