Temporary Contemporary

Friends of the Bass Museum, Inc. d/b/a Bass Museum of Art

Funding Received: 2012
Miami Beach, FL
Funding Period: 1 year and 5 months
July 1, 2013

For this blog entry, Jose Diaz, Curator of Exhibitions at the Bass Museum of Art, interviews Jason Hedges, who is presenting a project for tc: temporary contemporary.

Jose Diaz Hello Jason. Your new installation really speaks to Miami. You state that this new series of paintings are based on satellite imagery of Biscayne Bay, which show long-term damage to the area’s grass flats caused by South Florida boaters. Although the work appears abstract I understand that each work represents a specific location. How does this process begin and why did you choose to address this through painting and not another medium, like food?

Jason Hedges This project has come from a personal rediscovery of Biscayne Bay and other bodies of water around South Florida over the past few years.  My work is generally material driven so my first thought was  to recreate these found compositions with real scars dug into grass areas of Collins park and after that was a no go I re-examined my concerns and options and came up with what is installed now. The areas I chose to paint are all places I visit regularly and have witnessed careless boaters unknowingly destroying what I was enjoying and the flies are simply recreations of the small animals found in these areas. The food aspects are more along the lines of a food chain model in this case, hinting at habitat destruction and its impacts on said ecosystem. I grew up fishing, shrimping & crabbing in the bay and continue to get food from the bay today.

JD As you know tc: temporary contemporary is all about art in unexpected places. I know this work is currently on view at several venues however this installation is the largest and most site specific. How did you decide to use the windows at a Walgreen's drug store?

JH The main reason was how the windows and proportions of the space are similar to a fish tank or science museum diorama, so for the recreation of an underwater scene it was perfect.

JD I like that! The people passing, mostly tourists, really activate the installation when they look into the windows. You have been active in the Miami community for a long time. Can you talk a little bit about artists or exhibitions that have inspired your particular body of work?

JH I really like the constant viewing of the work, this is probably one of my most viewed works to date if we are counting eyes. My inspirations are far reaching and go beyond the art world. As far as artists who have directly inspired me over the years I would have to start with several minimalist artist of 1960's-1970's specifically in the formal aesthetics realm. On the conceptual/more contemporary side Felix Gonzalez Torres was a big impact on my performative/ interactive works. What really gets to me these days is work that the artist is fully invested in conceptually and technically that transcend beyond the commercial aspects of the art world.

JD This is a good example. What can we expect from you next?

JH At the moment I have a few things I am about to get started on and finish building out my studio. One of them is a continuation of my exploration of Biscayne Bay. I had done a series of fish prints of local fish last year. They were all very straight forward prints of a single fish and now I want to push them to a more abstract place with multiple prints on a single paper and also use smaller bait fish.  I have a proposal out now for an installation using bacalao (salted cod fish) exploring its role in the discovery and colonization of the new world. I am also starting to plan a new large scale functional sculpture that will be a human powered grain mill continuing some ideas I explored in my Grain show in 2011.