Cicely Carew ‘Ambrosia’ fills Boston’s Prudential Center

For Cambridge artist Cicely Carew, transforming Prudential Center into a sanctuary of color with her vibrant sculptural installation, Ambrosia, is her way of transporting Bostonians into a collective emotional and spiritual healing during the pandemic and region’s coldest months. Commissioned by Boston Properties and curated by Now + There, a public art organization that brings site-specific, temporary works of art to all neighborhoods of Boston, Ambrosia opened to the public on March 15.

Ambrosia is the fifth in a series of public art installations commissioned by Boston Properties in partnership with Now + There.

Ambrosia is an ecosystem of color, light, and shape that highlights Prudential Center’s iconic, light-filled thoroughfares, transforming the space into a honeycomb of infinite possibilities. This large-scale, multi-media installation reimagines the design and purpose of our public spaces as sites of meaningful community engagement and daily creative discovery. 

“I wanted to build a space of wondrous exuberance while still having moments of stillness, personal inquiry, and reflection,” Carew said.

Ambrosia installation at Prudential Center

Ambrosia presents, for the first time, Carew’s painted floral-and-faunal abstractions in the third dimension. Ambrosia is anchored by two sculptures suspended in Prudential Center’s Center Court and Boylston Street entrance. As if overflowing centerpieces at a zero-gravity feast, these sculptures act as access points to a shared sense of abundance. Between them, a deconstructed bouquet of spray-painted mesh, tulle, screens, and other everyday materials punctuates the Boylston and Back Bay retail arcades, offering distinct moments of solace and organic beauty to all who pass through. 

While abstracted, these references to the natural world are inspired by the artist’s own fascination with the healing properties of flowers and plants. The color spectrum featured across each piece promotes body, mind, and spirit alignment. The use of everyday materials reflects the artist’s call to use our creative limitations to our shared advantage. Each of these interventions recharges a sense of interconnectedness, to the earth and to each other. Carew’s work encourages those who work in, live near, and commute through Prudential Center to safely share in new experiences, artistic abundance, and radical joy. Ambrosia demonstrates how groundedness, in our community and surroundings, can guide us towards a more robust collective social consciousness.

In Greek mythology, ambrosia is the immortality-granting nectar reserved only for the gods. But Carew’s project rewrites the ancient myths, focusing instead on the modern definition of ambrosia as “delight for the senses.” A succor for the soul, Ambrosia asserts through a lush assemblage of sculpture and painting that abundance is, and should be, for everybody.

About Cicely Carew

Cicely Carew spent her formative years in Los Angeles surrounded by artists, writers, sculptors, photographers, and teachers. She moved to Boston for her undergraduate degree at MassArt, and after stints in Mexico and on the West Coast, returned for her MFA at Lesley Art + Design in Cambridge, MA. Exuberant in its colorful forms, Carew’s work is, in her words, about “about radical joy and liberation.” 

Carew has received several honors and grants over the years, such as the Cambridge Art Association’s Emerging Artist’s Exhibition award, the Sustainable Arts Foundation award, Strauch-Mosse Merit Scholarship Award, and a Cambridge Arts Council grant. Carew’s work is in private, corporate, and University collections. She currently lives in Cambridge, MA, with her son.

ABOUT NOW + THERE

Now + There (N+T) is a non-profit public art curator changing the landscape with temporary and site-specific public artworks. Through its curatorial efforts, N+T is transforming Boston into a public art city by creating a portfolio of projects that supports artistic risk-taking in order to catalyze community dialogue, and cultural change. (www.nowandthere.org).

Suggested social media hashtags for Ambrosia: #AmbrosiaBOS; #PaintingPossibilities; #PaintTheSkyatPru

PRUDENTIAL CENTER

Located in the heart of Boston’s historic Back Bay, Prudential Center is a destination by and for the city that inspired it. A place that lives firmly at the intersection of legacy and innovation. It’s not a shopping mall or an office building. It’s an enduring district within Boston that reinvents the everyday and promises discovery to everyone who enters.

A destination for local and global arts and experiences, Prudential Center features over 100 events annually, including rotating art installations. It’s a Boston foodie’s paradise, featuring Eataly Boston, Del Frisco’s, and Earl’s Kitchen + Bar and a fashionistas favorite place to spend the day, with over 40+ brands including Mackage, Madewell, Lululemon, and Under Armour.

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