UMass Dartmouth College of Visual and Performing Arts students and faculty will unveil a major art installation inspired by the daily impact of the ocean on New England life Friday, October 26 from 4-6 p.m. at the former Merchants National Bank, 95 Williams Street, New Bedford.
Entitled “Catch and Release,” the artwork will only be available for viewing though the public opening 4-6 pm on Friday, October 26 and 9 am-12 noon on Saturday, October 27. Thereafter it will be dismantled, delivered to Chicago for the Connect design competition held in conjunction with international Sculptural Objects Functional Art (SOFA) Exposition at the Chicago Navy Pier Nov. 1-4.
The New Bedford installation space at was arranged by Jeff Pontiff of E.J. Pontiff Realty.
The design team, led by Professor James Lawton, said in its SOFA proposal the installation “will harbor the currents of SOFA visitors, like a school of fish, inviting them to share a moment of curiosity and inquiry.” The UMass Dartmouth team was inspired by the daily impact of the ocean on life in New England. The ocean is itself a connected space dynamic and teeming with life. The fishing industry has been central to the identity of New Bedford, Massachusetts since the nineteenth century. Effects have been felt throughout the city’s history and the fluctuations of its economy.
Utilizing design elements of fishing traps used around the world, combined with lighting and projection techniques, the structure will lure visitors “into our space, much like a baited trap. Modular seating inspired by the ocean floor will attract visitors to take in video projections, while diffused light will mimic the feeling of being underwater. Our structure draws parallels between the experience of sea-life and human connections through contemporary design.”