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In their first collaboration, sculptor Soo Sunny Park and sound artist and composer Spencer Topel have transformed deCordova’s Window Gallery into a multi-sensory environment. In Capturing Resonance, the eighth project in the PLATFORM series, Park and Topel have composed a large-scale installation that utilizes the intense natural light in the gallery with the flow of museum visitors through this transitional space to create an ever-changing sculptural soundscape.
Park is best known for using quotidian building materials such as insulation, dry wall, and mesh screens to create experiential installations that rely on repetition and the interplay of light and materials to sublime effect. For Capturing Resonance, Park has similarly transformed a ubiquitous and obdurate material – chain link fencing – into something transcendent. By affixing thousands of iridescent acrylic Plexiglas squares into chain link cells, Park created a sprawling, undulating structure that transmits, reflects, and refracts both the natural and artificial light into the gallery.
Hanging from the third floor ceiling, Capturing Resonance fills the narrow space. The cascading, interlocking convex and concave Plexi and chain link fence units appear as biomorphic forms, overwhelming the field of vision of each visitor as they enter the gallery. Depending on the time of day, rainbow hued shadows fill the space, shifting from crisp representations of the structure to abstract color washes with the path of the sun. In Capturing Resonance, shifting light becomes a sculptural material and a symbol of transient physical and psychological states.
As visitors proceed through the interstitial – or in-between – space, motion sensors in the installation respond by activating different auditory ‘states’ that vary in both intensity and frequency. Layering an audio dimension onto Capturing Resonance, Topel blends whispering chords, soft tonal washes, and elongated instrumental sounds in a continuous and ever-changing composition that responds to human interaction. Depending on the number of people in the space, the musical states increase or decrease accordingly, and create a site-responsive installation. Hightech Holosonic Audio Spotlight panels and low-frequency bass exciters installed throughout the gallery, work together with the sculptural forms to create an experience of dematerialized or ethereal space.
In Capturing Resonance, Park and Topel have fused visual and sonic elements in a sensorial environment that captures the dynamic interactions between light, sound, and human presence. Transforming an already architecturally in-between space, Park and Topel filter the non-physical conditions of the site – light and movement – through sculptural and aural forms to create a site-specific and responsive architectonic installation that continually shifts and transforms in relation to perspective, time, and presence.
The 2011-2012 PLATFORM series is generously funded by James and Audrey Foster. Capturing Resonance is also supported by the Digital Musics Program at Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH; Holosonic Research Labs, Inc., Watertown, MA; and Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI.
Craig Colorusso’s Sun Boxes, a temporary sound installation, will be in the Sculpture Park on August 6 from 11 am–4 pm. Sun Boxes, a solar powered sound project, is comprised of twenty speakers, operating independently, each powered by the sun via solar panels. Colorusso has preloaded recorded guitar notes into each “sun box” so that the collective notes create harmonious chords—continually overlapping and evolving.
Listen to WBUR's Andrea Shea chat with artist Craig Colorusso and Deputy Director for Curatorial Affairs Nick Capasso: Artist's Musical Installation Rises with the Sun.
Watch a clip of Sun Boxes during a showing in Burlington, VT: Solar-Powered-Songs.
Boston-based sculptor Tory Fair creates objects and installations that address the gap between the real and imagined and what is physical and what is felt. In her most recent work she explores the relationship between the body and nature through cast, figurative sculpture. As part of deCordova’s ongoing PLATFORM series, in which the Museum invites emerging and mid-career artists to create work specifically for deCordova's site, Fair presents Testing a World View (Again) for the Pollack Family Terrace.
As the artist notes, “our imagination [is] part of our resources and part of our nature. My sculptures intend to endorse the perception that nature is the imagination; that nature is ourselves; and that nature is our surroundings however urban, deserted, bucolic, or wild they may be.”
Fair cast her body in pink resin with aluminum leafing in a seated, contemplative pose that forms a simple, 90-degree angle. Tiny flowers swarm her head as materialized thoughts which are alive as they press and impress a relationship to the world. Four of these resin figures are sited on and around the terrace in unexpected positions to suggest both humor and humility in the experience of the body in contact with its variable surroundings. Fair's figures ‘test a world view’ through thought and their physical positioning, asking the viewer to do the same.
Testing a World View (Again) also directly references the work of British sculptor Antony Gormley, whose work Reflection II, 2008 greets deCordova’s visitors at the Museum’s entrance. In 1993 he presented Testing a World View, an installation of five identical cast iron figures of his own body at right angles posed throughout a museum gallery, articulating the different relationships between the human figure and architectural space, and between interior and exterior experiences. Fair reinterprets Gormley's seminal work in an outdoor gallery space with her own figure, in pink resin, and covered with flowers. Her feminist re-articulation of an earlier and perhaps more masculine work expands the question of our bodies’ strained relationship to the world to now encompass the gendered body and both the built and natural worlds.
The 2010-2011 PLATFORM series is generously funded by James and Audrey Foster. Testing a World View (Again) is also supported by the Theodore and Jane Norman Fund for Faculty Research and Creative Projects.
Download the PLATFORM Brochure.
The Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy and deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum have collaboratively organized a temporary public art project for Boston's Rose Kennedy Greenway. Urban Garden is a group exhibition of contemporary outdoor sculpture, curated by deCordova's Deputy Director for Curatorial Affairs Nick Capasso, on display on Parcel 21 of the Greenway's Fort Point Channel Parks, between Pearl and Congress Streets. Urban Garden is made possible thanks to the generous support of Boston Properties, and in collaboration with the City of Boston and the Boston Public Arts Commission. The exhibition is free and open to the public from summer 2011 into October 2012. Urban Garden is intended as a pilot program to further encourage contemporary public art on the Greenway and in the City of Boston; to serve as a model for future cultural collaborations between the Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy and other non-profit instutitions; and to stimulate corporate support for future endeavors.
Urban Garden features the work of James Surls, Tom Otterness, and John Ruppert. The final selection of works was based on scale, variety of materials (steel, bronze, aluminum), and range of aesthetic approaches. The sculptures all reference botanical forms—trees, flowers, vines, and vegetables. Surls' Walking Flower Times the Power of Five—the largest of the three sculptures—is located in the center of the lawn, oriented toward the main pedestrian approach from the southwest. It references the circular shape of the lawn and the site’s curving pathways and landscape contours. Otterness' Tree of Knowledge is located in close proximity to the pedestrian path to allow close inspection of its animal actors. Ruppert’s Pumpkin Series is arranged toward the south end of the lawn, “scattered” in a way to suggest an actual pumpkin patch.
About the Rose Kennedy Greenway
The Rose Kennedy Greenway is a ribbon of contemporary urban parks that connects people and the city by providing beauty, fun, and a sense of community in Boston. Now, four of Boston’s most diverse and dynamic neighborhoods – formerly divided by a massive structure of steel and asphalt – are linked by beautifully landscaped parks, gardens, and plazas and reconnected with the harbor. For more information, visit www.rosekennedygreenway.org.
The Boston Harbor Islands Pavilion
The Boston Harbor Islands Pavilion, located on the Rose Kennedy Greenway, was created to welcome visitors to the Boston Harbor Islands national park area. In the evening, video programming will be shown on two 8 x 10 foot LED screens, transforming the Pavilion into a compelling destination.
To begin a series of future commissioned video installations, deCordova's Associate Curator for Contemporary Art, Dina Deitsch, has guest-curated a video program called Nature Special, that features five videos about our mediated relationship to the great outdoors by artists Jim Campbell, Sam Easterson, William Lamson, and Suara Welitoff.
Nature Special will be on view in the Boston Harbor Islands Pavilion each evening, and features work that presents the natural world through the mediating lens of the camera. The videos in this program underscore a more common interaction with nature—through the screen—not unlike our favorite television nature specials. The Boston Harbor Islands, in contrast, offer a rare, unmediated experience of the natural world, framed, not by roads or the television monitor, but by water.
Click on the arrow for stills from Nature Special and images of the Boston Harbor Island Pavilion.
Please see the Bio tab for information on the featured artists:
In Wall Works, six artists were invited to create site-specific wall installations in response to the Museum’s collection of modern and contemporary American art. In preparation for the exhibition, artists Kysa Johnson, Natalie Lanese, Caleb Neelon, Alison Owen, Justin Richel, and Mary Temple trolled the Museum’s database of 3,500 objects and selected an artwork to serve as a source of inspiration for their proposed “wall work.” The artists identified artworks that resonated with their varied interests and aesthetics and have consequently assembled an eclectic assortment of objects from deCordova’s collection. Sited both in the gallery and the Museum’s Café, these new installations reflect each artist’s own practice while creatively engaging the Permanent Collection as an educational, historical, and inspirational entity.
Additionally, the artists reference longstanding artistic traditions of working directly on the wall. Caleb Neelon’s piece draws on the history of slogans through street art, placards, bumper stickers, and buttons in his graphic portrayal of the visual language of political activism. Alison Owen’s subtle investigation of space emerges from the conceptual practice of Sol LeWitt’s architectural wall drawings, while Natalie Lanese’s pop-tastic assemblage refers to the tradition of murals as narrative epics. Justin Richel’s delicately rendered sweets and Kysa Johnson’s dense chalk drawings on blackboard call upon early fresco techniques, whereas Mary Temple’s use of the wall as conduit speaks to the history of site-specific artwork.
Wall Works is part of a new initiative to rethink Permanent Collection exhibitions at deCordova. This “artist as curator” project invites the artists to curate their own exhibitions from the institutional vault, mining the collection for new relationships and meaning. By illuminating both the unique holdings of deCordova and the work of the participating artists, Wall Works aims to create a new space for dialogue between the collection and contemporary art practice.
Participate in Wall Works! Share "someone else's secret" by completing the "Secret" form and have it included and performed in Mary Temple's site-specific, sound piece Someone Else's Secret. (Form no longer available.)
Watch Natalie Lanese as she creates her installation, "Retro Future" for Wall Works.