By Priya Amin, news staff
The Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) in Boston opened the 2017 James and Audrey Foster Prize exhibition on Wednesday. The exhibit features works of this year’s Foster Prize recipients, Sonia Almeida, Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Véréna Paravel, Jennifer Bornstein and Lucy Kim.
This exhibition has occurred every other year since 1999 when it was endowed by collectors James and Audrey Foster. This year’s exhibit was curated by Dan Byers, Mannion Family Senior Curator and with curatorial associate Jeffrey De Blois.
“I think that the Foster Prize is really about the Boston arts community and doing this allows us to continually expand on our community and offer the museum a civic space through which we can build a meaningful community,” De Blois said.
The exhibition consists of four rooms filled with paintings, sculptures, film and tapestry. Materials used include hinges, plaster and more. All the artists are Boston-based artists who have worked outside the area, but have yet to showcase their work locally. It’s a small break from most ICA exhibits, which tend to feature national and international artists.
Though there were a variety of subjects, each artist’s work was connected to the human body via various subjects. Kim sculpts people such as plastic surgeons and fitness trainers, professions that change the form of the human body.
Almeida’s work emphasized various types of physical and emotional communication. Bornstein combines various media to portray objects of belonging that redefine what it means to create a memorial. Castaing-Taylor’s and Paravel’s film “Leviathan” was shot from the perspective of a fisherman diving into the water.
“It’s interesting to see [the human body] in a different way. It’s not a portrait or a painting or a photograph,” said Gabriella Aragon, a local photographer at the press opening. “I’m very intrigued by [Lucy Kim’s work]. I’ve never seen anything like this before and I like the color play. I like that she does the ombré effect of the dark to light tones. Visually, it brings you in, which is really cool.”
This year, the exhibit includes a new program called “Foster Talks”, which will occur once a month from March until June. The program consists of each artist presenting connections. between their art and someone who has influenced said work. It creates a wider framework for the audience to talk about the work and build a greater sense of community.
“[Foster Talks] was the main innovative approach that we had to the exhibition when you think about community building as being part and parcel of what the exhibition sets out to do,” De Blois said. “This is a way that we identify that we could expand the purview, bring more people into the conversation and hopefully through that have a richer, more developed conversation that’s really driven by the artists and their artwork more than it is by us.”
De Blois said a huge part of working as a curator is finding and meeting with artists in studios in the area. Through this process, De Blois and Byers hoped to bring in a range of subjects that go well together.
“There’s an aspect of being a curator – it’s more like a social component,” De Blois said. “At all of the museums in town that have opens, there’s a real spirit of collegiality where we go to openings at the Museum of Fine Arts or at the DeCordova. That’s another way that you get to know lots of different artists and people.”
De Blois said he hopes the exhibit presents works that people will experience and enjoy. He said he hopes that people understand the depth and meaning within each piece and that it allows ICA to grow and share its growth with the public.
“So far people are very fascinated by the color schemes that were chosen,” said Dawn Haith, a stylist at Saks Fifth Avenue who attended the press opening. “They think it’s very exciting. From a far perspective you don’t see until you zoom in then you can really understand the story behind the art.”
The exhibit will be open through July 9. General admission is $15. Student admission is $10.
Photo courtesy Lucy Kim