Temperatures may be back around freezing although at the Queens Museum in Flushing Meadows Corona Park things appear to be heating up.
In February, the museum opened “Raising the Temperature: Art in Environmental Reactions,” in conjunction with the Rainforest Art Foundation. The exhibition explores mankind’s negative influence on the environment.
“I arranged the artists in two trajectories in order to organize our discussion and aid the appreciation of these creations”, said curator Luchia Meihu Lee. “One section called ‘Conversation with Artists’ brings up the issue of the artists’ response to environmental senses.”
Works by nine artists are featured in the show. Jeremiah Teipen, Pey Chwen Lin, Ki Fei, Hai Zhang and Todd Gavin focus on technological changes that reinforce behaviors which contribute to the ongoing environmental issues. The second group of artists — Marlene Tseng Yu, Sarah Walko, Miya Ando and Kay Lin — share a more intimate or romantic approach in the second strand.
Ando’s works are titled “Obon” and consist of hand-painted leaves from Bodhi trees.
“This is an indoor installation of a traditional Japanese festival honoring the dead,” Ando said.
Using about 100 of the heart-shaped leaves from this type of fig tree, Ando paints them with a phosphorescene pigment that changes colors in light. The leaves are then placed in a clear, acrylic box containing water.
“Each fragile leaf appears clear in the light and becomes luminous in the dark,” Ando said.
In addition, Ando places her signature leaves atop the installation with a sign that encourages people to take only one. These leaves have been temporarily added to the museum’s City of New York Panorama exhibit to make them appear floating along the river.
Kay H. Lin’s piece is titled “Sun, Air, Water” and uses a balloon as the centerpiece of the work.
“The balloon is made from a collage of recycled plastic supermarket bags from different countries. The plastic recycled materials demonstrate conservation and waste reduction while also showing how immigrants from different countries join together in Greater New York as a hot air balloon that lifts us all,” Kay H. Lin said. “Below the balloon is a basket of living green plants growing in soil (earth) with their leaves trailing over the edge. They represent the greenery that provides oxygen and gives life energy.”
The mishmash of shopping bags and their placement in front of a large window reveals the Unisphere with its shape duplicated in Lin’s piece.
Pey Chwen Lin has called his piece “Eve Clone Revelation No. 4.”
“Eve Clone is a commentary on human civilization and its dependency on technology as the true cause for alienation and human suffering. The holy light surrounding Eve’s head is a golden metaphor for the all-powerful, metaphysical authority,” Pey Chwen Lin said. “Eve, both deceitful and sad, inhabits a space in ruins as it gradually fills with water. Eve Clone also sees the water level rise slowly while rotating, even dancing.”
This is one of two exhibits that use digital technology so the visitor can view this exhibit in motion.
“Photography has been the tool for me to investigate the context in which we all find ourselves,” Hai Zhang said about “Don’t Follow Me, I’m Lost!”
He displays the photos in a series as if the viewer were shopping for a poster.
“It is such an unsettling journey into the understanding of the tomorrow that the new China is leading its people towards,” Zhang said. “These revelations raise some of the most pressing dilemmas of our time. Since 2008, I have regularly traveled to China to photograph the ever changing and sprawling urbanized landscape.”
“Raising the Temperature: Art in Environmental Reactions” will be on exhibit through Sunday at the Queens Museum.
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