Jennifer Wen Ma and Mayor Bill Peduto tour the installation.  Image by Jen Saffron.

 Jennifer Wen Ma and Mayor Bill Peduto tour the installation.  Image by Jen Saffron.

A Winter Landscape Cradling Bits of Sparkle

From Thursday,February 19 through May 3, 2015, visitors to Market Square discovered a small forest set against the winter cityscape of Downtown Pittsburgh’s Market Square buildings. Jennifer Wen Ma describes the work:

“The harshness of winter, history of Pittsburgh, and personal need for rest and quietude, served as the main inspirations for this work. I wanted to create an installation that linked these elements and emphasized the powerful life force that renews.

This is the force that pulls blossoms from a frosted tree branch in the Spring, lifts a city from economic decline by encouraging innovative industry, and motivates people to re-emerge from a private slumber to embrace the creative
energy within.”

The forest of A Winter Landscape Cradling Bits of Sparkle  was composed of a variety of trees: weeping willows, evergreens, flowering fruit trees, and bamboos. The trees were painted black with Chinese ink, creating a stark landscape that was seemingly in a state of arrested development. The trees evolved through the course of the exhibition – over time, green tender formed on the bamboo and willow branches, and flowers bloomed on the fruit trees, announcing the arrival of spring.

Visitors to Market Square were invited to walk through the landscape via an elevated pathway, exploring the micro-forest and discovering glass sculptures embedded within, while contemplating the transition of the seasons. 

You can look at Wen Ma's previous work online at

Jennifer Wen Ma in the news:

WESA, February 2, 2015, by 90.5 WESA
Art Installation Coming to Market Square This Month

Pittsburgh Tribune Review, February 17, 2015, by Michael Machosky
'Winter Landscape' will gradually come alive in Market Square

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, February 17, 2015, by Diana Nelson Jones
Artist's gift to Pittsburgh: art project with meaning in Market Square

NEXTPittsburgh, February 17, 2015, by Lauri Grotstein
City, meet forest at Market Square's Winter Art Installation

Pittsburgh Today Live, February 20, 2015
New Urban Forest Exhibit Opens in Market Square 

Treading Art, February 18, 2015, by Christine Smith
Exhibition Preview: 'A Winter Landscape Cradling Bits of Sparkle'

Pittsburgh City Paper, February 18, 2015, by Bill O'Driscoll
Public art "forest" opens in Market Square tomorrow

NakYouOut, February 23, 2015, by Leah Kennedy
Jennifer Wen Ma Transforms PGH into 'A Winter Landscape Cradling Bits of Sparkle'

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, March 16, 2015, by Amy McConnell Schaarsmith
Spring to sprout at Pittsburgh's Market Square forest