House and Universe
We're probably doomed as humans if we don't start thinking in a posthuman way. -Mary Mattingly
"House and Universe," Mattingly's third solo show
with Robert Mann, reflected the artist's environmental concerns in two
sculptures and 15 photographs, many of which document her public
projects. The photo Flock (2012), for example, features one of her
floating structures. Atop a platform, two geodesic domes covered with
white tarps and surrounded by containers of plants are engulfed by an
expanse of sky and sea. Continent (2012) shows a barge and rafts
subsumed in a murky fog; a sharp edge between the rippling waters and
the solid background, among other Photoshopped aspects of the image,
reveals the barren surroundings as an aesthetic frame. The unmoored
vessel thus emerges as both a symbol of vulnerability and a privileged
vantage point in these and several other of the show's photographs,
which evince a romantic tendency eclipsed by sheer purpose and will in
the artist's mobile environments. Yet, if Mattingly's intentions are
resolutely political, her photographs nonetheless evoke the spiritual.
Take the serene vision of escape in For a Week Without Speaking (2012), a
photograph depicting the artist rowing in quietly rippling waters, her
bundled possessions atop wooden shafts, in the autumnal glow of a
Full review by Kareem Estefan in Art in America
Mattingly melds the worlds of reality and invention in her work.
Research, study, and careful excecution of functional objects that could
sustain life in a post-apocalyptic world are now fused into created
environments; photographs result, and the work hovers in a space between
believable and surreal. Still, a sense of foreshadowing can't help but
enter our minds, for as Mattingly admitted herself in a recent Art:21 interview, We're probably doomed as humans if we don't start thinking in a posthuman way.
The work extends in a web-like way outside the confines of the gallery
or performance spaces she has used. Mattingly created a catalogue of
her possessions on a website that charts their source elements; this
reveals the extent of footprints that can be made by a single global
habitant, and a conscientious one at that.
For more information on the artist's work and exhibition history, please visit Robert Mann Galelry