Artist Mary Mattingly is best known for large-scale sculptures of ecosystems and imagined futures
Mary Mattingly creates photographic collages and public sculptures of imaginary futures like Limnal Lacrimosa (of Lakes, Tears) in Montana; Vanishing Point in the UK; and Swale, a floating food forest in New York. Mattingly was awarded a 2023 Guggenheim fellowship. Her sculpture, Ebb of a Spring Tide, opened in May 2023 at Socrates Sculpture Park.
Art is everything. It's love and its longing, it slows time and asks people to dream.
Salt Tolerant Plants growing in the Water Clock at Ebb of a Spring Tide at Socrates Sculpture Park in Queens, New York
Ebb of a Spring Tide's Water Clock overlooking Manhattan
Vessels in the Water Clock keeping "tidal time"
Public art presents interactive and visionary scenarios. It challenges perceptions of the present and motivates people to openly engage while responsibly contributing to tomorrow.
"While he mused on the effect of the flowing sands, he was seized from time to time by hallucinations in which he himself began to move with the flow." ― Kōbō Abe, The Woman in the Dunes
Limnal Lacrimosa (of lakes, tears) is a large-scale water clock in the valley of Glacier National Park. It utilized glacial precipitation to tell glacial time for nine months until the clock finally ran dry. Water rained from the building's top floor to the bottom floor, filling vessels with water that would overflow and eventually cycle back up to the top floor. While building Limnal Lacrimosa I thought of the Kōbō Abe novel, The Woman in the Dunes.
In New York City, foraging from public land has been off-limits for over a century. Swale is a floating food forest in New York where people can pick fresh food for free. Swale led to NYC's first 24-hour Foodway at Concrete Plant Park in the South Bronx, and was a proof-of-concept for a future, more permanent floating food forest that incorporates perennial fruits, vegetables, herbs and medicinal plants.
In a personal project I began in 2013, I bundled belongings into sculptural forms to make them more iconic. I utilized the bundles for performances about my own consumption. At a certain point, I had bundled most of my possessions. Then, people started mailing me objects and sharing their stories. I continue building bundles from meaningful objects.
...holding space for wonder
"Among the pieces, trembling softly but perceptibly, like a sleeping bird, there throbbed, mysteriously, a compass." ― Jorge Luis Borges, Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius
Photographs depict both the intimate and the infinite. They inspire wonder and possibilities, and they reveal new questions.
Visit the "Last Light/First Light" series
The journey of Last Light/First Light began on the West Coast of the United States. Serving as documentation of light and time, this series is the result of a double exposure taken once a year on the shortest day of the year.
...Photography and Dreams
"...The tides, when the Moon swung closer, rose so high nobody could hold them back. There were nights when the Moon was full and very, very low, and the tide was so high that the Moon missed a ducking in the sea by a hair's breadth; well, let's say a few yards anyway. Climb up on the Moon? Of course we did. All you had to do was row out to it in a boat and, when you were underneath, prop a ladder against her and scramble up..." ― Italo Calvino, The Distance of the Moon
Salt Moons were made by soaking steel disks in ocean water, and photographing them at different stages of their transformation. From there, Salt Moons were printed on aluminum to reveal an elemental connection between both processes. These photographs signify the passage of time and minerals of the cosmos.
Desire Lines, from the Pipelines and Permafrost series
Rematriation, from the Pipelines and Permafrost series
Retreat and Advance, from the Pipelines and Permafrost series