MFA Graduate Combines Art and Nature in Pop-Up Exhibition

goldenrod plants
“Fielding” will open to visitors with a public, interactive reception on Wednesday, Sept. 11, from 5 to 7 p.m. in 144 Morrill Science Center 2 South.

“Fielding: Goldenrod, An Exploration of Connections,” curated by Emily Tareila, a 2019 master of fine arts graduate, is the first pop-up exhibition organized by the University Museum of Contemporary Art (UMCA) and the UMass Natural History Collections (NHC). This inaugural collaborative project brings an artist’s perspective to the Natural History Collections and offers a new way for students and the public to engage with the natural world and the rich collections NHC has to offer.

Central goals with this collaboration are to generate greater awareness of the NHC by inviting an artist to use their collections as a site for exploration and to generate new work. Then, to present the results of their artistic research to the campus community and general public. This collaboration allows NHC to showcase some of their important holdings, and to invite visitors to learn more about their work.

Tareila’s project investigates both human uses and the history of the goldenrod plant (Solidago spp.). Tareila has researched the history and current presence of goldenrod in the area and its significance to ecology, medicine, and food, and to the non-human sphere. “Fielding” consists of a pop-up exhibition in Morrill Science Center with selections from NHC collections, as well as Tareila’s original artwork, including naturally dyed materials, plant identification artworks, cyanotype photography and more.

This exhibition is an outcome of Tareila’s graduate assistantship at the UMCA, and is a pilot project leading to UMCA’s future collaborations with the Natural History Collections.

“Fielding” will open to visitors with a public, interactive reception on Wednesday, Sept. 11, from 5 to 7 p.m. The exhibition will be open to the public on Wednesdays in September and October between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. in 144 Morrill Science Center 2 South. Each Wednesday there will be new ways to engage with the project, from activities to changes in the installation. The project will culminate with a closing reception in the same location on Wednesday, Oct. 30, 5 to 7 p.m.