Gordon Halloran probably makes the biggest ice paintings in the world. Last Thursday several media outlets announced that Halloran will be making a wall of ice about 125 feet long and 13 feet high for the entrance to the 2010 Olympics’ Richmond, B.C. ice arena, the O Zone. (Here’s the Vancouver Sun’s article, for example.)
This scale is smallish for the B.C. artist, who has previously created ice paintings the size of entire ice rinks. The vertical works are gorgeously translucent; the horizontal ones allow for community involvement such as actually skating on the massive crystalline images. For example, in the nineties he made a massive abstract work at Calgary’s Olympic Plaza, where the Calgary Ice Dance Theatre troupe performed loops and twirls on top of his work.
Formerly an illustrator, Halloran invented his own processes of melting and freezing sections of ice for his “paintings below zero,” though he doesn’t spill very specific details about the technique on his website or in interviews.
Halloran’s ice paintings were part of the Cultural Olympiad in 2006 in Turin, Italy. His blog from that experience remains online and provides an interesting look into the physical and aesthetic challenges of making what he calls a “quintessentially Canadian” form of art.