Born in 1982 in the state of Massachussets, Zaria Forman is based in New York, yet her art is rooted in the most remote regions of the globe.

Courtesy of Vacheron Constantin

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Artist Zaria Forman squats down to shoot closeup images of a chunk of ice washed up on Iceland’s Diamond Beach, where ice is strewn upon the black sand by the tides and glitters like gems in the sunlight. On her wrist gleams the new Vacheron Constantin 35mm self-winding Overseas in pink gold with a matching dial framed by a bezel set with 90 brilliant-cut diamonds, echoing the radiant ice fragments around her.

Forman has partnered with Vacheron Constantin as part of the brand’s One of Not Many campaign, alongside British musician Benjamin Clementine, designer Ora Ito, photographer and explorer Cory Richards, and fashion designer Yiqing Yin. As the new face of the Overseas collection, she is featured in an advertising campaign that was produced in Iceland.

Based in upstate New York, Forman, 40, has made a specialty of creating stunning large-scale pastel drawings that depict vast glacial landscapes in painstaking detail. Her work has been exhibited in museums and galleries around the world.

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Forman has flown several times with NASA’s Operation IceBridge, airborne scientific missions over Antarctica, Greenland, and the Canadian Arctic, which have helped to map changes in the earth’s ice over the last decade. These unique polar experiences have provided the impetus for her majestic works of art that depict the beauty and fragility of the planet.

“I see my work as portraits of these places that we are losing, that are constantly shifting and melting at a rate that we’ve never seen in our lifetimes,” she says, standing on the black sand as tourists snap family portraits next to chunks of ice.

It was here that she found inspiration for her latest series of drawings, video work and sculpture–titled Fellsfjara, Iceland–of which work No. 3 was created for Vacheron Constantin. The collection will be exhibited in New York City in March 2024.

A one-of-a-kind artwork, Fellsfjara, Iceland no.3, created for Vacheron Constantin following the campaign shoot.

“The unique thing about this particular body of work is I’ve been diving into the detail in a way that I never have before,” she says, noting how she normally condenses scale when drawing massive glaciers on large-format paper. “Here you can get your lens right up to the ice, on the surface taking photos inside of it. It’s allowed me to really explore all the details of glacial ice–how it’s compressed, how it builds, how it breaks, how it melts, and to learn in parallel with scientists, who are studying what’s happening to our planet.”

Among these details are the bubbles trapped in glacial ice that serve as time capsules for scientists, who can study the tiny air pockets that captured the atmosphere as long as millions of years ago.

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“Those air pockets can teach scientists so much about what the atmosphere was like then, how much carbon dioxide and methane was there when the glacier was built,” she explains. “And that can really help us understand how glaciers build, how they grow, how they melt, and help us portend what’s going to happen in our future.”

The new monochromatic pink gold Overseas (US$58,500) she is wearing is the latest addition to the brand’s 2023 lineup that kicked off in the spring with four new models in steel and pink gold, available in 35mm set with 90 brilliant-cut diamonds around the six-sided bezel or 34.5mm without the gems, each paired with a choice of a sunburst blue or a powder pink lacquered dial. Prices range from US$23,100 in steel without diamonds to US$58,500 in pink gold with diamonds. All are equipped with the brand’s interchangeable bracelet and buckle system that makes swapping the straps and bracelet a cinch. The new model comes on a pink gold bracelet with alternate straps in white calfskin and white rubber, for a sporty option.

Vacheron Constantin

Intended to find a sweet spot between the 33mm and 37mm sizes, the new models are slimmer, more ergonomic and are powered by the automatic Calibre 1088/1 movement that is revealed through a sapphire case back showcasing the collection’s emblematic rotor sculpted in gold and embellished with a compass rose, evoking the theme of exploration.

“I draw large-scale works in such detail to try to transport viewers, to make them feel like they are getting to experience these places that are at the forefront of climate change and hard to get to,” Forman says of her polar landscapes. “I try to recreate what I saw in person in that moment in time, which is often something completely different by the time I return home and finish the work months later. These landscapes are so ephemeral, constantly shifting and changing.”

Forman’s passion for exploration was a natural fit for Vacheron Constantin. “The spirit of adventure has been in the DNA of the maison for many years,” says Alexandra Vogler, the brand’s chief marketing officer, who notes the partnership between Jacques Barth?l?mi Vacheron, grandson of the firm’s founder, and businessman Fran?ois Constantin in 1819. Constantin traveled the world selling Vacheron’s watches and brought back the cultural influences he experienced.

“We’ve always had this combination–we call it openness to the world,” Vogler adds. “It’s really this idea of exploring and pushing, learning from places and cultures and the curiosity to travel.”

Forman feels a connection with the brand based on the concept of time. “It’s a subject that is meaningful in my work in so many different ways–the time it takes for a glacier to build, the time it takes for it to melt, and these little time capsules trapped inside the glacial ice,” she says. “And from the moment I snap a picture to the moment I draw out that moment in my studio–weeks or months later–it will have changed or be gone by the time I’m done.”

 The artist, who paints vast glacial landscapes in painstaking detail, is the new face of the 2023 Overseas collection