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People Mountain People Ocean: On Painting the Crowd

Location: Brooks M. O'Brien Auditorium/Lewis Academic Building

Jessica Tam painting

Jessica Tam, M.F.A.


Visual artist Jessica Tam will discuss her work, including the latest series of paintings and prints, which examines the use of ecological language to create an embodied response for invisible phenomena like political currents or viruses. In her current work, Tam uses the Chinese phrase “ren shan ren hai,” or a “human mountain” and “sea of humanity” to imagine the crowd as a torrential force that is potentially powerful in both threatening and uplifting ways.

Jessica Tam creates situation-specific paintings that stem from popular sport and entertainment, and evolve into immersive fictional environments. She has exhibited nationally and received grants from the Clowes Fund at the Vermont Studio Center, the NEA at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and the Al Held Foundation at the American Academy in Rome. Recently her work has been featured in The Boston Globe and Area Code, New England’s newest contemporary art fair that ran online and onsite around Greater Boston in August 2020. Images of her work live here:

Please note this event will not be recorded at the request of the presenter. 

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