Moving Through New England

DeCordova Exhibits
Click images for larger view
On View 2007 - 2008
Exhibition Location: Dewey Family Gallery

For many people, New England represents a land of idyllic beauty, attracting tourists who wish to see the historic sights or summer on the shore, and leaf peepers driving through the autumnal glory. For others, it represents history, with its white church steeples, town commons, and covered bridges—places where time seems to stand still. And yet, like everywhere else, New England is always changing, for better or for worse. Here, change comes with every season and with every hour. Change comes when the vacationers return home and when the animals reclaim their territory. It comes as new buildings rise and old ones crumble, and as the presence of man in the landscape emerges conspicuously.

The changing landscape of New England has inspired numerous artists. This along with DeCordova’s mission to collect works by modern and contemporary New England artists, has provided DeCordova with a rich collection of images of this region. Moving Through New England comes entirely from our permanent collection and includes an array of media. Viewers will recognize old favorites alongside recent acquisitions. While some artists have chosen to portray idyllic New England, others have highlighted the less beautiful, but more common aspects of the area. A few artists, such as Robert Ferrandini, have made fanciful images based on the region, and others like Aaron Siskind have abstracted it by focusing on small details; several of the artists, including Robert Birmelin, have been extremely faithful to reality, highlighting the landscape’s natural beauty. For many of the artists change is an important part of their vision of New England; they have chosen to show change for its political reasons, nostalgia, or its aesthetic contrast. Through diverse techniques and media, these artists have created images of the passing of time and people through New England.

Kate Dempsey
Koch Curatorial Fellow