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Exhibitions explore changing ecology, technology, and community
Liu Shiyuan, As Simple As Clay [detail], 2013. C-prints Dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist and Tanya Bonakdar Gallery.

MIAMI, FLA.- The Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum FIU—the art museum on the campus of Florida International University—is presenting three exhibitions, that invite viewers to deepen their understanding about ecology, technology, and the power of human connection. “This spring our exhibitions engage with multiple ideas about change that affect us every day. The Grey Collection of Hudson River School paintings reminds us that our varied and magnificent landscape has always comprised an important aspect of the American identity, while Price’s photography reminds us that small communities, as well, define America. Liu Shiyuan’s installation challenges the viewer to consider the fragile nature of our individual identities, in an age of global communication,” said the museum’s director, Dr. Jordana Pomeroy.

Transitional Nature: Hudson River School Paintings from the David and Laura Grey Collection (on view through May 17, 2020) features 29 paintings from the New York collection of David and Laura Grey and includes masterpieces by Albert Bierstadt, Robert S. Duncanson, Asher B. Durand, and George Inness. Cultural identity in the United States has been long intertwined with its magnificent landscapes, from the dense forests of New England to the open terrain of the West. These landscapes extol the unique beauty of this country and relate to the first significant art movement in the United States, known as the Hudson River School. The artists who painted these American landscapes worked during a time of increasing industrialization and growth of technology—not a coincidence of history but a lens on ecocritical thinking of the time. Modern industry changed the culture and economic future of this country, but also gave rise to concerns about the preservation of a natural environment often described as a Garden of Eden.

While much of Transitional Nature focuses on U.S. landscapes, depictions of Greenland and Ecuador exemplify the international travel undertaken by nineteenth-century artists in further pursuit of untrammeled terrain. Artists working today frequently address the beauty and complexity of landscape, drawing our attention to environment and ecology. Transitional Nature will also feature a selection of works by contemporary artists that will connect in powerful ways the past of the Hudson River School to the present art world, including Beatriz Chachamovits, Morel Doucet, Ralph Provisero, Dawn Roe, and Fereshteh Toosi, among others. The exhibition is curated by Dr. Katherine Manthorne, Professor of Modern Art of the Americas, Graduate Center, City University of New York, in collaboration with Dr. Amy Galpin, Chief Curator, Frost Art Museum.

Liu Shiyuan: Opaque Pollination (on view through April 12, 2020), marks the artist’s debut solo exhibition at a museum in the United States. Born in Beijing, Liu Shiyuan studied in New York and now makes her home in Copenhagen and Beijing. Liu’s videos, collaged photography, and mixed media work probe the causes and results of gaps in communication that arise from changing technologies as well as from transcultural exchanges. The artist’s sweeping cinematic presentations reveal awkward human interactions and stock photography. Stilted dialogues in her videos highlight our contemporary communication practices in which face-to-face interactions are often influenced by social media, screen time, and images seen on the Internet. Liu’s use of stock photography in video is echoed in the artist’s two-dimensional works.

A series of photographs in the exhibition features of landscapes, animals, and food collaged together in a painterly manner. In her large-scale installation, As Simple As Clay, the artist searched the word “clay” in different languages on the Internet. In addition to photographs from the Internet, she took photographs of her hand holding—in some cases molding various substances—while she simultaneously studied a new language. Upon entering the installation, the visitor is engulfed by a cornucopia of intricate images stripped bare of their original context.

This exhibition is curated by Dr. Amy Galpin, Chief Curator, Frost Art Museum..

Terence Price II: Never Ending Gardens (on view through April 26, 2020) presents 21 photographs and 2 videos that create a visual story about the Miami community of Carol City. A native of Carol City, Price taught himself photography, studying works by Gordon Parks, Roy DeCarava, and Vivian Maier, among others. He is currently an Artist-in-Residence at Oolite Arts, Miami. Price creates work that ruminates on the notion of community and captures intimate relationships formed among family, friends, and neighbors. His photography bears witness to change in his community and documents how individual lives are affected by economic shifts. The exhibition’s title refers to his enduring bond with the community and its residents who raised him and shaped his perspective. A predominately Black community, Carol City has been subject to neglect and it has faced economic decline. Price not only wants to hold on to the past, but he also seeks to reclaim the present and create a narrative that brings dignity to the people and places that make up his community.

Price’s captivating portraits make sensitive, even urgent, documents rendered in traditional black and white film. His subjects in his 170th Street series stand at an intersection in Carol City; they appear strong and resilient. The individuals in this series were photographed on the day of the artist’s grandfather’s funeral. Price’s photographs reinforce the power of both familial rites of passage and seemingly mundane events. He recognizes that the history of street photography is often characterized by visual artists who document specific communities and then leave. He embraces the tools of the medium but portrays communities and individuals with whom he forms deep bonds. Beyond the portraits in the 170th Street series, the exhibition includes new and recent street photography and videos.

Terence Price II: Never Ending Gardens is curated by Amy Galpin, Ph.D., Chief Curator and Maryanna Ramirez, Manager of Strategic Initiatives.

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