4 Elements: Earth, Air, Water and Fire
checkered picnic blanket made of grass...
During the summer of 2003, visitors to historic Forest Hills Cemetery encountered an adventurous exhibition of site specific installation and sculpture exploring the age-old theme of the four elements. An ancient formula, drawn from Greek philosophy and medieval alchemy, is given a new spin by 20 artists working in diverse materials. The exhibition at times striking and at times subtle wound through the landscape of historic Forest Hills Cemetery. A festive opening reception was held on June 22 from 3 to 6 pm. The exhibition ran from June 15 through October 31 and was free to the public.
Two of the works created for The 4 Elements are currently on display as part of the Contemporary Sculpture Path:
The theme of the four elements put the focus on materials, and the participating artists were inventive in their representations of earth, air, water and fire. They used both natural and manmade materials sod, cement, rubber, gathered branches, pine needles, mechanical devices in unusual combinations and juxtapositions which explored the interplay of nature and artifice, paradox and transformation.
The Trust convened an accomplished jury to review 170 design proposals received in the spring of 2003:
The jury selected 20 selected artists to create 17 installations; several worked in collaborative teams. The Trusts director, Cecily Miller, worked with each artist to site the pieces on the 275-acre grounds. One of the goals of the exhibition explains Miller is to engage visitors in active exploration and discovery. The route invites people into some beautiful, almost secret, areas of Forest Hills as well as its grand formal spaces, so rich with art and architecture. Its a fascinating environment for contemporary art, its so fraught with meaning and history.
artists were largely from New England, although Oregon and Virginia were
also represented. Artists Frank Vasello, Thomas Matsuda,
Larissa Brown, Jeanne Drevas, and Jeffrey Hayes created
sculptural forms from natural materials ranging from gathered branches
and pine needles to imported water hyacinths. The team of Daniel Bouthot
and Christopher Ho, and landscape architects Kaki Martin and
collaborators Susan Child and Chris Alonso inscribed their designs
directly into the earth by planting patterned sod, rosemary beds, and
a long line of lime mixed with rye seed designed to illuminate the varied
topography of the cemetery.
4 Elements was made possible through grants from the Boston Foundation,
the John H. and H. Naomi Tomfohrde Foundation and an anonymous funder.
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