NEW BEDFORD — In an exciting new three-campus UMass initiative, the exhibition “LOCAL ECOLOGIES” arrives at UMass Dartmouth's Star Store Campus in downtown New Bedford.
Hailed by art critic Cate McQuaid as “an ambitious exhibition” from “terrific artists with ties to Massachusetts,” “LOCAL ECOLOGIES” is a joint project of UMass Dartmouth, UMass Boston and UMass Lowell.
The exhibition brings together artists, scientists, historians and activists engaged with the diverse coastal and river ecosystems, and layered histories, of eastern Massachusetts. Artists include Dan Borelli, María Magdalena Campos-Pons, Duy Hoàng, Sarah Kanouse and Nicholas Brown, Plotform (Jane Marsching and Andi Sutton), Matthew Mazzotta, Evelyn Rydz, and Andrew Yang.
Opening Nov. 7 and running through Jan. 10, UMass Dartmouth hosts a free public reception and roundtable for “Local Ecologies” on AHA! Night Nov. 14 starting at 6 p.m. A discussion moderated by curator and UMass Dartmouth professor of art history Rebecca Uchill, and featuring artists and program partners, begins at 6:30 p.m. at the UMass Star Store Campus at 715 Purchase St. in downtown New Bedford.
“This exhibition is important for a number of reasons,” Uchill said. “It takes an expanded view of what it means to be local, and get viewers digging at the concept of ecology as being both natural and cultural, and connected to indigenous, colonial, and industrial histories.”
The overall initiative aims to spark transdisciplinary and cross-institutional exchange with artworks that address issues specific to the Massachusetts localities in which they were developed.
There are many New Bedford ties here.
Borelli — who holds degrees from Harvard University and Rhode Island School of Design — was a Visiting Artist at UMass Dartmouth’s College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA), and was awarded a spring 2019 artist residency at the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park. There, he developed proposals for public artworks using illuminated street lamps and harbor buoys to track toxicity of the area Superfund site.
New Bedford residents may have encountered the collaborative “Plotform" — Jane Marsching and Andi Sutton — pedaling the New Bedford area in recent months. The artist-duo designed a bicycle with pull-cart workshop platform, radio transmitter, and recording studio. They asked participants to write and record love letters to nature for their project, Dear Harbor Radio. The exhibition will offer opportunities for viewers to write their own love letters.
“Focusing on ecology couldn't be more pressing right now, and these artists are on the forefront of innovative ecological thinking,” said UMass Dartmouth Gallery Director Viera Levitt.
LOCAL ECOLOGIES is organized by Rebecca Uchill, Art Education, Art History, and Media Studies, UMass Dartmouth; Kirsten Swenson, Art History, UMass Lowell; and Sam Toabe, Gallery Director, UMass Boston. The exhibition is implemented at UMass Dartmouth by Levitt and Uchill.
The initiative at UMass Dartmouth is made possible with generous support from the Visiting Artist Program of the Dean’s Office, College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA). The exhibition has partnered with other area exhibitions and institutions as satellite venues. Please visit www.umassd.edu/cvpa/galleries for more information.
The UMass Dartmouth University Art Gallery in historic downtown New Bedford presents inspiring exhibitions, artist talks, discussions, lectures, and the annual MFA Thesis Exhibition for graduating CVPA Art and Design students. The Gallery's programming serves not only UMass Dartmouth, but also the diverse New Bedford and South Coast regional community.