Decidedly Ambivalent, New Art Center

Decidedly Ambivalent, written by Lisa Di Donato, and curated by Lisa Di Donato and Anna Mogilevsky, was part of the New Art Center's "Curatorial Opportunity Selection" program. It was unanimously nominated by a panel of 18 judges. 

The show was the New Art Center's season opener, running from September 14th- October 25th, 2009, in Newton, MA.

Decidedly Ambivalent featured the work of Leah Beeferman, Patrick Campbell, Rob Carter, Lisa Di Donato, Carin Mincemoyer, Anna Mogilevsky, Steven D. Millar, and Sonjie Feliciano Solomon.

A majority of the world’s population lives in urban or suburban areas. This long-running and accelerating process is inextricably changing our relationship to nature. Nature is becoming more limited and circumscribed as our towns and cities encroach upon formerly rural areas. As architecture comes to dominate the landscape, nature can become a distant abstraction, an idealized memory, the beacon to a primal longing, and at times, a surprising and even destructive imposition on our urban lifestyle.

Decidedly Ambivalent explores our ambivalence towards nature as reflected through architecture. Architecture is the most visible and unavoidable demarcation between society and the natural world. At once a necessary shelter from the elements, this edifice of society is shown as a porous boundary with the broader world. We see the inevitable tensions of our urban expansion, with architecture encroaching upon nature, and nature in turn exploiting opportunities to persist and flourish wherever possible. In modern times, it is difficult to envision a future for landscape outside an architectural context.

Following a tradition of landscape art, Decidedly Ambivalent presents the work of artists working or living in urban or suburban locations. Landscape art offers us the opportunity to consider how we relate to the places in which we dwell and the impressions we leave on the land. The artists exhibited here commingle ubiquitous signs of urbanity with landscape, and examine the dynamics of the conjunction between the two. We see relationships between them that are at times sympathetic, exploitational, explorative, and mutually inspirational. Neither clear judgments nor utopian solutions are offered, but rather the represented engagements remain unresolved.


Decidedly Ambivalent installation view