NEW/NOW Jennifer Wen Ma: An Inward Sea

When 13 May 2021 - 24 Oct 2021
Where New Britain Museum of American Art
56 Lexington Street
New Britain, CT 06052
United States

As part of the NBMAA’s NEW/NOW exhibition series featuring emerging and established contemporary artists, the Museum will present Jennifer Wen Ma: An Inward Sea, opening May 13. In recent years, Ma (b. 1973, Beijing) has explored themes of utopia, dystopia, and the human condition in immersive and participatory installations. An Inward Sea continues this exploration, while reflecting deeply on the events of the last year–including the COVID-19 pandemic, extensive shut downs, and subsequent racial justice uprising in the U.S. –and how they have impacted the lives of residents of New Britain and beyond.

The exhibition comprises an installation invoking a moon hovering above a vast sea. In this case, the “sea” is made from black cut-paper waves tipped in gold, that span much of the gallery floor. The waves are reminiscent of traditional Chinese landscape painting and serve as metaphors for the difficult terrain we are navigating through. Above the waves, a projected moon reigns over the glistening seascape. Throughout the exhibition, the moon becomes a poetic stage that features the profiled portraits of New Britain residents, accompanied by audio recordings of their individual stories of isolation and otherness, community and togetherness, and other experiences beginning with the pandemic and expanding to broader concerns about the human condition. The audio and video recordings of local residents will culminate in a database of a personal and collective history for the city of New Britain and the New Britain Museum of American Art, capturing the momentous events of our time.

Jennifer Wen Ma (b. 1973) is a multidisciplinary artist whose practice includes installation, drawing, video, public art, design, performance, and theater. She frequently creates site-specific works that respond to the institutional or community contexts in which they are viewed. Born in Beijing, China, she immigrated to the U.S. in 1986. She has exhibited worldwide and was a member of the creative team for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Opening and Closing Ceremonies.

Much of Ma’s works involve investigations into the constructs of utopias and are inspired by the histories of the places in which she exhibits. Her installations present alluring, gorgeous, and otherworldly landscapes that juxtapose utopian and dystopian elements and invite immersive multisensory experiences. As part of her installations, Ma engages with communities through programs including community dinners that serve as platforms to discuss specific and timely issues, such as social justice and gentrification.

Jennifer Wen Ma (b. 1973) is a multidisciplinary artist whose practice includes installation, drawing, video, public art, design, performance, and theater. She frequently creates site-specific works that respond to the institutional or community contexts in which they are viewed. Born in Beijing, China, she immigrated to the U.S. in 1986. She has exhibited worldwide and in 2008 was a member of the creative team for the Beijing Olympic Ceremonies.

Virtual Opening Reception

Thursday, May 13, 4 p.m.

Join us for the virtual opening of NEW/NOW Jennifer Wen Ma: An Inward Sea. Following remarks by Director and CEO Min Jung Kim, artist Jennifer Wen Ma will discuss how her current exhibition An Inward Sea reflects on the events of the past year, including the COVID-19 pandemic and racial justice uprisings, through the voices and perspectives of local community members.

This prerecorded program will go live on May 13, at 4 p.m. Link forthcoming.

Virtual Gallery Talk
Wednesday, May 26, 2021, 1-2 p.m.

Virtual Gallery Talk led by associate curator Lisa Williams. Register here.

For more information please click here.
Image courtesy of the event organizer.