Forever Temporary by Cassandra C. Jones

Cassandra C. Jones created a wall-specific installation on view at Abigail Ogilvy Gallery from May 3 – June 16, 2019. The title of the entire work is “Forever Temporary,” which includes a wallpaper installation and nine digital prints. While the bright colors bring you in, the work has a much deeper significance. Read more about the work from Jones’ point of view below.

Cassandra C. Jones in front of her installation, Forever Temporary. Photo by: David Guerra

From the artist:

In 2017, a massive wildfire swept through the small desert town of Ojai, CA. It consumed over 500 homes on the very first night and raged for over a month.  And while our home remained safe, the air around it became toxic and uninhabitable for many weeks.

All the modern day conveniences, and synthetics of our time, in all those houses, melted. They turned to acidic embers, bad gases, and nano-plastics, and then they rose up into the air, swirling in great plumes.  When they reached as high as they could go up in the atmosphere they gently floated down, onto our landscape, as the softest and smallest of relics.

I still struggle to describe the way the mountains that surround our home looked covered in a blanket of ash, knowing it harbored a legacy, of all the pretty things our townspeople bought and considered either temporary or treasures in their lives.  And even though the fire reduced their effects to the tiniest of fragments, many will still be here for hundreds, if not thousands of years. 

detail of Golden Torch, Archival inkjet on cotton rag pearl, 30 x 18 in. Photo by Chris Anderson / CDA Media

When the rains finally came, the tiny shoots of new plants coming up through the charred black earth looked like green lace covering the valley.  And the locals say that all the vegetation this year, in 2019, is more beautiful because the ash has finally seeped in and fertilized the soil.  A super bloom of color; flowers and succulents, cactus and perennials blanket the terrain. It's just like the smog that makes the sunsets more beautiful; it is so vibrant yet still spoiled.

I think about the fresh new wild cactus in the mountains, just coming out of the ground, slow-growing vegetation that will likely still be around when my children have grandchildren.  I imagine them absorbing and curling their watery flesh and spines around all those pernicious particles, like tree limbs sometimes wrap themselves around telephone wires.  All the sinister little-bits are part of them now.  For better or worse, those cactus will never know life without them. 

The beach ball is an object that I chose to represents the ordinary disposable possessions in our lives. It is pretty, shiny, and fun, much like new technologies, beauty products, food packaging, synthetic clothes, etc., And like all those things it is short-lived and replaceable. In whatever way our creations of this caliber are disposed of or destroyed, recycled or reused, the human-made ingredients that go into them are becoming part of our natural world, creating shifting waters, altered landscapes, and new gardens that are forever and temporary all at once. 

Photo by Chris Anderson / CDA Media

See It Now: Megacities Asia

Megacity: A very large city with a population of over 10 million people

Urban setting of this scale were unimaginable fifty years ago, but are becoming increasingly common, especially in the continent of Asia. These towering, sprawling metropolises are centers of the social, political, and environmental concerns of the eleven artists featured in The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston’s Megacities Asia exhibit.

Comprised primarily of installations and sculpture constructed from found objects in these megacities, the pieces convey the textures, materials, and overall feeling of the city each artist calls their home. Rather than being contained to one room, portions of Megacities can be found all over the museum and even beyond its walls. The most notable of these outside exhibitions is Fruit Tree, Choi Jeong Hwa’s magnificent twenty-three feet tall inflated bouquet of fruit, on view outside Quincy Market in Boston.

Upon descending into the main exhibition hall of Megacities Asia, the first thing we see is a geographical map showing the origins of each artist. The exhibition is constantly putting the work in context, accessible to visitors who may not be familiar with the cities addressed by the artists.

Untitled  (2016) Aditi Joshi; Mumbai, India Fused plastic bags, acrylic paint, LED lighting, and wooden armature Image Courtesy of MFA Boston

Untitled (2016)
Aditi Joshi; Mumbai, India
Fused plastic bags, acrylic paint, LED lighting, and wooden armature
Image Courtesy of MFA Boston

Some notable works includes a large, colorful sculpture by Aaditi Joshi, stretching across a corner of the exhibit, textured like a deep-sea coral reef. Upon closer examination, we see that the entire sculpture is made of plastic bags collected from the streets of Mumbai, India, Joshi’s native megacity. The piece addresses the environmental threat of overuse and improper disposal of these plastic bags in Mumbai, looming over the viewer like a twisting, bristling beast.

Super-Natural  (2011-2016) Han Seok Hyun

Super-Natural (2011-2016)
Han Seok Hyun

Hu Xiangcheng’s corner of the exhibit, Doors Away from Home (2016), has multiple little rooms, divided and wallpapered with salvaged Ming and Qing-era doors from homes destroyed in Shanghai’s modernization. The doors themselves are pieces of history, and tacked on are photographs of past residents, stickers, wrappers, and children’s hair ornaments—remnants of their legacy. There are mirrors fitted into each window pane; moving through the exhibit, we see ourselves reflected in the work. Hu asks the question that often accompanies rapid cultural change: are we losing something?

Han Seok Hyun’s all-green sprawling installation, Super-Natural (2011-2016) is like a miniature city in itself. It is fun to parse through, identifying the mass-produced consumer products from Seoul that make up the piece. The work addresses the environmental issues arising as nature is replaced my man-made and calls out the mirage of “green” products—which are often falsely presumed to be environmentally friendly just because of their color.

These works and more are on view in The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, through July 17, 2016. Be sure to catch it before its gone!

 

Wednesday, May 18: Puloma Ghosh

Outdoor Art Exhibitions to Visit This Spring

One of the best parts of springtime in the arts is watching new installations pop up and old favorites reopen for the summer season. Art in Boston is getting some fresh air as the city awakens from its winter slumber. Take advantage of this years beautiful New England summer to visit these outdoor art exhibitions in and around Boston.

Fruit Tree

Image Courtesy of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Image Courtesy of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

As a part of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston's Megacities Asia exhibition, Choi Jeong Hwa's Fruit Tree towers over passerby outside Quincy Market in Boston. The inflated bouquet of fruits is twenty-three feet tall and examines the ideas of natural and artificial, and where we can find beauty in their intersections. Fruit Tree will be up until July 17, 2016.

May This Never End

Image courtesy of Boston.Com

Image courtesy of Boston.Com

This year the Greenway in Boston will be host to Chicago artist Matthew Hoffman's narrative piece, May This Never End. The work is installed along a fence between North and Clinton Street near Faneuil Hall, and is made up of four foot tall yellow polyethylene letters that begins with the phrase, "Nothing’s for keeps. Except that we must keep going." Discover the rest of Hoffman's words for yourself; they'll be up through the summer and into the fall, exhibiting until November 18, 2016.

deCordova Museum Sculpture Park

If you haven't visited the deCordova Museum's sculpture park yet, make 2016 the year you finally see it. Follow the beautiful walk and enjoy the Museum's sculpture collection, comprised of works in a variety of materials, including stone, metal, concrete. The newest piece on view was installed just last year: Beacon by Stephanie Cardon consists of two concrete pillars bridged by hazard-yellow metal cables, which play with the viewer's sense of space by disturbing the way the eye perceives light. Join the deCordova for their annual spring gala, Party for the Park, May 7!

The Courtyard at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

Image Courtesy of The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

Image Courtesy of The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

The Isabella Stewart Gardner's notable collection extends outdoors to its elegant courtyard. The courtyard is not only host to beautifully crafted sculpture and mosaic work; the garden itself is a work of landscape art that combines horticulture, fine art, and architecture that gives museum visitors a breath of fresh air between the Gardner's indoor exhibitions.

 

Wednesday, April 27, 2016: Puloma Ghosh