Art objects can illuminate many ways in which place matters to the human experience. Art can give visual form and material expression to human connection to place. So too art can reveal different ways that humans have and continue to imbue places with meaning.
Grounded in these ideas, Art and the Matter of Place presents a small, compelling group of works from the Fleming’s collections. Through contemplation of form and materials, these objects encourage critical thinking about place and why it matters. A photograph of a marble quarry, for example, can evoke reflection on human interactions with material environments and natural resource extraction. A jar can offer insights about traditional cultural, geographical, and ecological knowledge of place. And additional objects can expand thinking about human attachment to place and more.
Importantly, Art and the Matter of Place is being shown in the Fleming’s Wolcott Gallery. This small, comfortably furnished space nurtures deeply focused engagement with art. Visitors are invited to spend time here exploring the visual and material qualities of objects, and how these qualities relate to notions of place.
Just as importantly, Fleming staff are increasingly thinking about issues of place. As part of Fleming Reimagined, we are considering how to make the Museum a more welcoming and inclusive place for everyone. We are also reflecting on the Museum’s colonialist history of collecting and displaying objects: practices that involved removing objects from places where they were originally made and used and where they formed an integral part of cultural life.
By highlighting the manifold meanings of place, Art and the Matter of Place aims to introduce visitors to issues that currently animate the work of Fleming staff and that relate to larger, ongoing efforts to reimagine the Museum.