Curated by the ICA’s Ruth Erickson and Anni Pullagura, “Revival: Materials and Monumental Forms,” on view through September 5, is, like the facility housing it, a celebration of the power within repurposed objects. Built in the 1930s as a pipe and sheet metal factory and eventually shut down and condemned, the ICA revamped the cavernous building into the ICA Watershed, its showcase for large-scale works of contemporary art.
Displayed inside the mammoth space, works composed of such found materials as cast-off clothing, trash, broken auto lights, bottle caps and other discards hold their own in scale and power as well as poignant intimacy.
Instantly spellbinding are five wall-size panels by Jamaican Ebony G. Patterson, 41, whose three-dimensional collage of cut paper photographic prints conjures the ecstasy and churning cycle of growth and decay within nature. Her assemblage of flowers, birds, and butterflies portrays a paradise that close-up reveals occasional glimpses of partial female figures, such as a smiling face and a headless, ornately clothed torso. Entitled “…and the dew cracks the earth, in five acts of lamentation…between the cuts…beneath the leaves…below the soil…” (2020), the installation echoes ancient rituals that memorialize those who are unseen or overlooked.