SMFA at Tufts Traveling Fellow and alumna documents impact of shifting global climate on Antarctica in new exhibit at Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
BOSTON and MEDFORD/SOMERVILLE, Mass. (March 11, 2019)—Multidisciplinary artist Georgie Friedman explores the beautiful, desolate and endangered Antarctic landscape in "Georgie Friedman: Fragments of Antarctica," a new multi-component exhibition on view from April 13 to Sept. 15, 2019 at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA) in the Eunice and Julian Cohen Galleria.
A 2008 Master of Fine Arts graduate of the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University (SMFA at Tufts), Friedman received a 2017 SMFA Traveling Fellowship that sponsored her travel to the Antarctic Peninsula. While there, she sketched the environment, recorded video footage and photographed the landscape. The resulting work developed into integral components of this exhibition.
"Georgie Friedman: Fragments of Antarctica" combines many experiential elements from Friedman's travels. A two-channel video piece, featuring gigantic icebergs floating out to sea, pairs incongruous seascapes to create a sense of unsteady footing and a desire to level the horizon.
Friedman’s typology of singular icebergs focuses on the varying textures and structures of the enormous formations, while her constructed panoramic views present a fragmented relationship with the natural world. The focus of the photographs moves from a distant perspective toward an increasingly intimate view of the glaciers, icebergs and physical remains of the region.
Across the gallery, kinetic sculptures that reference the shape of icebergs are suspended from above. The thin metal sculptures depict both the visible portions of the icebergs and the 90 percent of each iceberg that is typically submerged under water. Visitors encounter the sculptures from below, inverting the typical vantage point, creating a challenging new perspective of the icescape.
The exhibition presents fragments of a shrinking continent and raises questions about the need to document an ice-bound ecology in peril. It also invites visitors to reflect on their own relationship with the natural world, and consider an environment under threat by sweeping global changes.
"The Antarctic region faces an uncertain future due to impacts from climate change," said Friedman. "I hope my work gives visitors a glimpse of and appreciation for the Antarctic landscape."
"I want visitors to be challenged to consider their own relationships with nature and be aware of the current threats to our environment."
Transforming unique architectural spaces is one of Friedman's strengths. Her work often focuses on climate change and environmental degradation, using site-specific features of galleries or public spaces to emphasize the works' themes.
Friedman has exhibited at the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Geneva International Film Festival, in addition to local exhibitions at deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum and Peabody Essex Museum. She teaches time-based media and video at Boston College and Massachusetts College of Art and Design.
In October 2017, she included footage from her SMFA Traveling Fellowship in her piece "Rising Tide," which was projected onto the façade of Boston's City Hall. In this work, water from the Antarctic Sound digitally rises above the region’s icy mountains, creating an accelerated visual metaphor for scientific predictions of sea-level rise. Through the work, Friedman connected the city of Boston with the larger picture of global climate change.
Established in 1899, the SMFA Traveling Fellows program awards funds to select artists for post-graduate work and travel. Ten SMFA at Tufts alumni are selected by a jury to receive a $10,000 grant to use for travel, research or other expenses related to their work. One of the largest endowed art school grant programs in the United States, the fellowships provide critical early-career support for SMFA at Tufts alumni.
The 2019 SMFA Traveling Fellows, announced last fall, are currently traveling on four continents, developing and informing their art practice.
This exhibition is supported by the Callaghan Family Fund for Contemporary Exhibitions.
The MFA is recognized for the quality and scope of its collection, representing all cultures and time periods. The Museum has more than 140 galleries displaying its encyclopedic collection, which includes Art of the Americas; Art of Europe; Contemporary Art; Art of Asia; Art of Africa and Oceania; Art of Ancient Greece and Rome; Art of Ancient Egypt, Nubia and the Near East; Prints and Drawings; Photography; Textile and Fashion Arts; and Musical Instruments. For more information about museum hours and admission, call 617-267-9300, visit mfa.org, or follow the MFA on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
About the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University
Founded in 1876, the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University is a unique art school affiliated with both a major art museum—the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston—and a Tier-1 research university. Originally established within the museum, the school began its relationship with Tufts when the university began providing accredited degrees to SMFA students in 1945. SMFA officially became part of Tufts University’s School of Arts and Sciences in July 2016. SMFA at Tufts provides an exceptional fine arts education that allows students to craft individualized programs of study while being mentored closely by world-renowned faculty and staff. Graduates are creative thinkers and problem-solvers who succeed in a wide variety of careers. SMFA at Tufts is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design and is a member of the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD). For more information, visit www.smfa.tufts.edu.