A public garden & cultural center

Nova Jiang

Call & Response | September 10–December 3, 2017

Pictured above: Croak, 2015, Operculum, 2015, Graft, 2016, Time Enough, 2017, oil on panel, each 14 x 11 x 1 inches. Courtesy of the artist. 

Completed in the years following Nova Jiang’s Van Lier Visual Artist Fellowship at Wave hill, these four paintings were inspired by plants in the Succulent House in Wave Hill’s conservatory, embodying a tension between observation and imagination. Taking cues from the fruit and flower portraits of Italian Renaissance painter Giuseppe Arcimboldo and vanitas paintings depicting decaying plants and vegetation, Jiang’s forms portray plants realistically. Their placement on Jiang’s face reveals the uneasiness of occupying a mortal body. A cactus needle through a butterfly, carnivorous plants as facial features—each deftly addresses the human need to collect and classify the natural world.

Landscape Abbreviated
Sunroom Project Space | July 8–August 19, 2012
Van Lier Visual Artist Fellow

Landscape Abbreviated, 2012, wood, aluminum, moss, custom electronics and software, dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist.

In her artistic practice, Nova Jiang explores unexpected connections between various fields of cultural production. She creates open systems that invite the audience to play. The visitor becomes not only spectator but also collaborator, participant and performer. Jiang’s concept for this installation was developed during Wave Hill’s 2012 Winter Workspace Program. In contemplating the cultivated gardens of Wave Hill, the artist imagines the merging of the artificial and the natural. In the Sun Porch, Jiang creates a kinetic maze consisting of modular elements with rotating planters, which form a garden that is simultaneously a machine. The planters contain live moss collected from the sides of buildings, cracks in the pavement, subway grates and other urban nooks and crannies in New York City’s landscape. Full of particles of broken glass, plastic and other detritus, they form a patchwork of unintentional archaeology.

Jiang is also interested in the way that simple interventions can make the experience of space dynamic and unpredictable. The planters are controlled by a software program that continuously generates new maze patterns based on mathematical rules; they rotate to form shifting pathways that encourage visitors to change direction and viewpoints as they move through the space. Jiang envisions her sculptural maze not as a classical labyrinth built to ensnare, but rather as an architectural abbreviation of grand ideas. In this way, the maze relates to literature, mathematical beauty, game play and the rigor of software programming, as much as it does to architecture and landscape.











Landscape Abbreviated, 2012, wood, aluminum, moss, custom electronics and software, dimensions variable.Courtesy of the artist. Photo: Raymond Yeung











Landscape Abbreviated (detail)2012, wood, aluminum, moss, custom electronics and software, dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist.

Winter Workspace Program
Glyndor Gallery | February 14 – March 25, 2012

Nova Jiang’s artistic practice explores the expanding definition of public space, often through interaction and community collaboration.  While in the Workspace she created a series of drawings that document thoughts that cannot be expressed in words. The artist sees drawing as an act of communication.  The works depict narrative situations and future sculptural speculations.  Inspired by the surroundings of Wave Hill, they respond to the influence of ever-present nature.  In May 2012, a number of these drawings were exhibited in Jiang’s solo show at Illuminated Metropolis Gallery, New York, NY.

Nova Jiang (right) in her Winter Workspace studio, March 2012.
Photo: Joshua Bright.

Drawing by Nova Jiang, Winter Workspace studio, March 2012.
Courtesy of the artist.

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.