A public garden & cultural center

Adam Frezza and Terri Chiao

Call & Response | September 10–December 3, 2017

Pictured above: Chalk Stalk, 2017, acrylic and mixed media on paper pulp and plaster sculpting compound, 123 x 26 x 26 inches. Courtesy of the artists and Wave Hill. Photo: Stefan Hagen.

Chalk Stalk extends from the floor to the ceiling of the South Gallery. Its whimsical form and colors are indicative of the artistic duo’s work, which often involves imaginative plant shapes. In this piece, Frezza and Chiao illustrate how the constructed and architectural can interact with the organic environment, creating the playful, hybrid space of an indoor garden.

A Controlled Wild
Sunroom Project Space | June 22–July 28, 2013

A Controlled Wild (installation view and details), 2013, paper, acrylic paint, wire, plaster, and living plants, dimensions variable. Photo: Ken Goebel.

Adam Frezza and Terri Chiao’s collaborative, interdisciplinary practice explores the role of play in everyday life. Their work is often inspired by common daily rituals, such as eating breakfast, watering house plants or celebrating holidays. In the process, quotidian materials become important elements of inspiration. Utensils, food, foraged wood, found materials and remnants of contemporary ceremonial practices influence them and become part of their projects. Working across various media—including drawing, painting, collage, printmaking, sculpture, architecture and industrial design—Frezza and Chiao craft images, objects and spaces that question our experience of the lived environment.

For their project in the Sun Porch, Frezza and Chiao examine the tension between nature and artifice embedded in the concept of a “controlled wild,” transforming the space into a competitive natural environment created largely through artificial means. Responding to the Sun Porch’s alternating role of winter conservatory and summer art space, Frezza and Chiao have built a small, pyramidal greenhouse in the center of the Sun Porch, populated by a lush assortment of handmade, paper plants dispersed among living plants curated from local nurseries. Viewers are invited to enter the greenhouse sculpture and inspect the plants up close while immersed in a fantastical landscape of fiction and reality. As the patterns and forms of plants in Wave Hill’s conservatory have inspired Frezza and Chiao, both the handcrafted and living plants included in this exhibition are meant to encourage viewers to continue observing and pondering the impressive and unique specimens in all of Wave Hill’s gardens and beyond.

A Controlled Wild (detail), 2013, paper, acrylic paint, wire, plaster, and living plants, dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artists.

Artist website

The Arts at Wave Hill are supported by the Lily Auchincloss Foundation, Inc.; Michael J. Shannon; Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation; the National Endowment for the Arts; New York City Department of Cultural Affairs; New York Community Trust Edward and Sally Van Lier Fund; New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; The Pollock-Krasner Foundation; The Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation; and by the Cathy and Stephen Weinroth Commissioning Fund for the Arts.