Sustaining Life, 321 Harrison Avenue Lobby, Boston, MA 02118
“Sustaining Life” is a 23 foot by 60-foot long art installation in the Lobby of a new 11-story office tower. I was commissioned by development partners CIM Group and Nordblom Company to create a 34″x 88″ oil painting that would later be enlarged for this site specific location. I worked closely with SMMA architect Eric Peterson and interior designer Emily Moodono in developing concept ideas for this large scale project. The whole collaboration was wonderful, it allowed me to delve deeper into Boston’s ecological history and it’s relation with seagrass. I discovered many maps ranging from 1775 to 1800s that showed how the perimeters of Boston changed over time as landfill efforts occurred and Boston’s seagrass boundaries pushed further out into the ocean.
The painting combines three maps of Boston from different historical periods and is woven together with seagrass blades. Sustaining Life weaves together elements of both being in water and looking from above with composite perspectives of Boston. It is a metaphor for the interconnectedness of all life.
I love how the final installation turned out and is better than I ever imagined! There were many back and forth proofs and matching color swatches to each quadrant of the image. Getting the transparencies to match the original painting was challenging. Emily was relentless at making sure we chose the right type of materials to be as sincere to the original concept. I also appreciate photographer Julia Featheringill’s contribution to quilting high resolution images to create the detail we needed. Eric Peterson was imaginative in coming up with these vertical wooden lines that enhance the whole experience.
“Sustaining Life” is a slow visual read. As the viewer moves through the space new sections of the image reveal themselves between the vertical wooden lines. sections of the composite painting emerge one after another. For me it is a type of meditation on seagrass. They had found seagrass in the ground beneath the building indicating it’s abundance before landfill. As stewards of our oceans, it is important to be aware of our ecological connections with the past, present, and future – and how our actions impact the future.
I am grateful to be given the the opportunity to communicate my love and concern for our oceans through art. Exploring seagrass over the last 6 years has resulted in 250 works of art from small studies to this large scale site specific installation. I have learned so much from so many people including Todd Fremont Smith, Emily Modonoo, Eric Peterson, and others who have supported my vision to bring this to the world.
“Nedret is amazing to work with! She is so inspiring and creative. Nedret worked really hard to make sure this beautiful painting was exactly what the space needed and the team envisioned. This original piece of art tells a wonderful story of the south end area for people to connect to. It has activated the new lobby space and create a dynamic user experience. I am super excited with the final installation!”Emily Modoono, SMMA
Click here to learn more about the collaboration and concept: SMMA
For more on this project and the opening event “Seagrass: The Untold Story” please visit my blog