Liz Devlin (who runs FLUX) recently got in touch with me to make work based off of an island she sought fit for me. I got the Thompson Island.
Thompson Island 2015
34 Gallery Exhibition Celebrating the Unique Histories of the Boston Harbor Islands
34 is a group exhibition that includes 34 regional artists each responding to one of the 34 Boston Harbor Islands. Each imaginative work will be accompanied by a placard, featuring text from Chris Klein’s Discovering the Boston Harbor Islands, which outlines a brief history of the particular island and will provide additional context for the work itself. The exhibition is a crucial anchor for Isles Arts Initiative because it not only fleshes out the complete story of the islands, but it also provides a physical beacon on land that will be in conversation with the art on the harbor. Artists’ work will educate and inspire visitors, sharing unique perspectives and visionary iconography that will demonstrate why the islands’ history is among the most fascinating in our region. Everyone knows about Paul Revere and the Boston Tea Party, but now it is time to shine a light on the story of the Boston Harbor Islands.
While researching Thompson Island, I found out that the island once housed a farm and trade school. In 1833, the Boston Asylum for Indigent Boys was moved to the island, and in 1835 it merged with the Boston Farm School Society to become the Boston Farm and Trade School. In 1956 the name was changed to Thompson Acadamy. Aftetr finding this out, I decided to see if I could find any photographs of the boys from this farm and trade school. I ended up finding three glass-plate negatives of groups of these boys playing in the snow. From there I used the same processes I used for my Years Later series on these digital files.