This new installation in the Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art’s Eunice and Julian Cohen Galleria offers a contemporary spin on landscape art. Ten works, including sculptures, paintings, installation, and video art, present contemporary art as the latest chapter in the story of landscape art through the ages, as told by the MFA’s encyclopedic collection. Works include a number of new acquisitions that have never before been on view, as well as new commissions by Jason Middlebrook and Anne Lindberg. Their soaring creations evoke nature’s sublime potential through color and pattern, using the dramatic architecture of the Linde Family Wing to guide their work.
Jason Middlebrook has been invited to paint the largest wall in the Cohen Galleria, which measures 24 by 80 feet. Middlebrook’s signature patterning weds the geometry of modern abstraction with the lines of wood grain to “create a tension between something organic and something man-made.” Another site-specific work by artist Anne Lindberg evokes nature by using only thread and staples. Suspended from the vaulted ceiling of the Linde Family Wing’s second floor, Lindberg’s work soars gracefully above visiting guests. This is the first time Lindberg has created a work installed at this height (16½ feet), allowing visitors to look up through a field of color.
Works from the MFA’s collection that expand the definition of “landscape” beyond the horizon line include chenille beanbag Topia Chairs (2008) by Barbara Gallucci, a professor at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts. Another take on the theme is seen in the playful video, Eating Landscape (2005), which depicts artist Song Dong (Chinese, born in 1966) building an edible tableau that satirizes traditional Chinese ink landscapes.
Working in the legacy of Claude Monet, Spencer Finch’s Shield of Achilles (Dawn, Troy, 10/27/02) (2013), re-creates the light of dawn. He carefully observes and notates the colors at a precise time and location, reproducing them with filtered fluorescent light bulbs. Ghost (Vines) (2013) by Teresita Fernández references nature’s fleeting presence. Layers of precision-cut metal are backed with bright green silkscreen ink that casts a soft green glow around sharp, machined edges––mimicking the pattern of moss. Other works on view in the installation include Two Whites Over Antique Red Over Cadmium Red (2013) by Pat Steir, Garrowby Hill (1998) by David Hockney, Verity (magenta blue), Repose, and Verity (blue green gray) by Nicole Chesney, and Untitled (2003) by Tara Donovan.
On view in the Eunice and Julien Cohen Galleria, Level 2; Hope and Mel Barkin Art Wall; and Michael D. Wolk Art Wall.