Ryan Arthurs, (Untitled 91) George River, Labrador, Canada 2012, Digital print (detail)

Arcadia: Thoughts on the Contemporary Pastoral

Curated by Steve Locke

About Arcadia: Thoughts on the Contemporary Pastoral:

Arcadia brings together a diverse group of artists and artistic practices that focus on the idea of the landscape as a site of human endeavor and a source of human experience. This exhibition puts forth the idea that the desire for pastoral space in the city creates a productive tension, one that raises the question of how we navigate the world and, more importantly, of what we want from the nature that is framed and preserved in our built environments.

It may seem strange to think of the landscape as built but as city dwellers we see this dialog between the “natural” and the “constructed” played out all around us. Exhibition curator Steve Locke notes that, “from the Boston Common and the Public Garden to the Emerald Necklace and the new Rose Kennedy Greenway, our city is in the throes of a discussion about public green space and its purpose. The very history of Boston and the Back Bay in particular is a nexus of green space, urban planning and engineering.”

From a park in Brooklyn to the edge of a continent, the work in Arcadia shows artists dealing with timely questions, and proposing innovative works that can be seen as models for understanding space as a site of possibility. How does one make a “great journey” when every aspect of the planet is mapped to a phone? Why do we leave marks in nature and how does it mark us? How do images from and of nature (rendered across technologies) replace, or even enhance actual experience? Arcadia invites the viewer to look closely at our relationship to our environment and what it is telling us about ourselves and how we move through the world.


Ryan Arthurs, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Leah Gadd, Eirik Johnson, Marie Lorenz, Frank Meuschke, Matthew Noonan, Anri Sala, and Joe Wardwell.

About the Curator:

Steve Locke was born in 1963 in Cleveland, Ohio, grew up in Detroit, Michigan and lives in Boston. In 2013, he exhibited in his first solo museum exhibition there is no one left to blame, which was organized by the Institute of Contemporary Art Boston and traveled to the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit in 2014. Locke is a recipient of the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award and a Pollock-Krasner grant. He has received a Contemporary Work Fund grant from the LEF Foundation, and a travel grant to Turkey from the Art Matters Foundation. Locke has received multiple nominations for the Joan Mitchell Award and the Foster Prize from the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston. In 2008, he was the visiting professor and artist in residence at the Savannah College of Art and Design. Locke received his MFA from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design in 2001 and holds Bachelor’s degrees from Boston University and the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, where he is currently an Assistant Professor of Art Education. Steve Locke is represented by Samsøn in Boston, Massachusetts. Locke is the proud product of a Jesuit education.

Related experiences:

Opening Reception
Friday, July 10 | 6-8pm

A Walk Through Arcadia
Thursday, July 16 | 6:30 – 7:30pm
Gallery walkthrough and conversation with curator Steve Locke.

Artists Panel Discussion
Friday, September 18 | 6:30- 7:30pm
Curator Steve Locke moderates a discussion with exhibition artists and invites the audience to participate with questions.