Bay Ridge Through an Ecological Lens: Rita Leduc

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Leduc installing Field Mark (Narrows Botanical Garden). Photo courtesy of the artist.

Bay Ridge through an Ecological Lens is a multi-faceted public art exhibition hosted by Stand4 Gallery and presented in collaboration with ecoartspace.

This interactive, public, community arts exhibition is curated by Jennifer McGregor, featuring artists  Rebecca AllanAaron AsisChris CostanKate DoddPeter Edlund, Kristin Reiber-HarrisEllen Coleman-IzzoSergey JivetinNathan Kensinger, Rita LeducChristopher Lin, Nikki LindtE.J. McAdamsJimbo Blachly Nancy Nowacek in collaboration with Carla Kihlstedt and Carlos AlomarBenjamin Swett and filmmakers:  Aaron Assis, Nate DorrSean Hanley, Nathan Kensinger, Nikki Lindt, Emily Packer and Lesley Steele, and Kristin Reiber-Harris

It consists of nature walks and community interventions in the gallery and various locations throughout the Bay Ridge community from April 15 through June 17, 2023. Art Spiel will feature a series of interviews related to this project throughout its duration, here with artist Rita Leduc.

Tell us about your work in the show.

We move through life riding waves of transitions. Infinitely scalable and existing across dimensions, they overlap and intertwine: sidewalk/park, Spring/Summer, literal/imaginal, subjective/objective. Part of my creative practice is to acquaint myself with the thresholds of such transitions. This requires zooming in, and interrogating constructed boundaries until they break character and dissolve. As I acquaint, I participate. In doing so, I, too, become porous: dexterous and continuous.

Although I am interested in thresholds of all dimensions, my practice most often uses engagement with the physical environment to access intelligence that I then apply elsewhere. Thus, the four Field Marks for Bay Ridge Through an Ecological Lens are installed at physical thresholds within the neighborhood of Bay Ridge: the entries/exits to Owl’s Head Park, The Narrows Botanical Garden, and Stand4 Gallery, and a railing at American Veterans Memorial Pier.

To make the Field Marks, I first collected “visual data” or “qualia” by applying fabric, paint, vinyl, marker, and other provisional materials onto a clear acrylic sheet secured on-site. At each location, I did this from two, 180-degree vantage points. In the studio, I then merged the two data sets from each location, effectively “smoothing out” each threshold. The resulting collages are sandwiched between upcycled acrylic and installed at their origin sites, conflating the two perspectives, and inviting reflection on duality and change.

The two pieces inside of Stand4 are continuations of the outdoor Field Marks and, consequently, of my process of acquaintance with Bay Ridge. The collage, Field Mark (Bay Ridge) is a combination of all “data” collected on both sides of the four sites, offering a holistic reflection of the neighborhood. The drawing, Field Mark (Drawing), is a graphite amalgamation from photographs I took of the physical environment when I captured the data throughout Bay Ridge. It similarly offers a holistic investigation of place, but the slower, more meticulous method provides me with an alternative means of understanding. By varying my engagement with a place, I am able to absorb and participate from a variety of perspectives, making more porous – or “smoothing out” – my own threshold between self and world.

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Field Mark (Stand4) and Field Mark (Drawing), Rita Leduc, 2023. Image courtesy of the artist.

About the artist: Rita Leduc is an interdisciplinary artist living in New York’s Hudson Valley. Her practice uses place-based exploration to inform investigations into systems and relationships. Active engagements involve several collaborations with Oika including Artist-in-Residence at Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest, NH, resident artist at Maria Mitchell Association, MA, and other projects; Creator/Director of GROUNDWORK; participation in The Place Collective; Arts@FSMLs. Leduc’s work has been shown internationally, most recently at The Museum of the White Mountains in Plymouth, NH. She has attended several residencies and published, presented, and workshopped her work widely. In 2022, this included unpsychology magazine’s “An Anthology of Warm Data” and Art.Earth’s conference, “Sentient Performativities: Thinking Alongside the Human,” among others. Leduc received her MFA from Mason Gross (Rutgers), Post-Baccalaureate Certificate from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and BA from the University of Pennsylvania. She teaches at Rutgers University and Ramapo College.

Bay Ridge Through an Ecological Lens April 15 – June 17, 2023 A Public Art Exhibition Curated by: Jennifer McGregor