Mary Mattingly



“I begin my work by doing research, drawing sketches, and building workable sculptures with utility and survival purposes in mind. The sculptures are realisations of this research, and are for use in the photography that I am creating. In 2001, I started building Wearable Homes and would travel to different desert environments, to experiment living in them for weeks at a time, bringing along little food or water. As I improve the Wearable Homes, I have added systems to them that purify and store water, provide a place to sleep, monitor the wearer’s temperature, health, and provide floatation and storage for belongings. After a period of continuous moving, I wanted to make the wearable homes technologically advanced and fit for the world’s increasing number of mobile citizens. My work is largely narrative and illustrative of future conditions that large populations can and may face.In the two series Second Nature and Time Has Fallen Asleep people are largely mobile in these self-contained clothing units as they travel through each of the prevailing climates of the near future: arctic, desert, and waterlogged tundra, illustrating different modes of survival. For these two series, I travelled to places that were and are in danger of drought, in need of water, or that have an excess of water due to melting glaciers or storms. I was able to experience hardships from lack of water and difficulties that communities face from changing climates first hand, to study floodgates and rising tides, and at times I was fortunate enough to be able to help in relief efforts. With the inclusion of sculptures, the images that I make border fiction and reality. Depending on the particular image and the sentiment that I want to evoke in the viewer, I use 3-D imaging programs and digital editing programs to create or alter initial photographs so that they may tell a story and suggest a feeling that borders between a warning and hope. ”

Mary Mattingly (b. 1978, Connecticut) is a Brooklyn-based visual artist whose interest in home, travel, and cartography have propelled her to create photographs, sculptures, ‘wearable homes’ and ecological installations that reject the impinging control of corporate and political entities in a time where our physical environments are endangered. Currently, “Swale” is a floating food forest for New York. In 2015, she completed a two-part sculpture “Pull” for the International Havana Biennial with the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes de la Habana and the Bronx Museum of the Arts. Mary Mattingly’s work has been exhibited at the International Center of Photography, the Seoul Art Center, the Brooklyn Museum, the New York Public Library, deCordova Museum and Sculpture Park, and the Palais de Tokyo. With the U.S. Department of State and Bronx Museum of the Arts she participated in the smARTpower project, traveling to Manila. In 2009 Mattingly founded the Waterpod Project, a barge-based public space and self-sufficient habitat that hosted over 200,000 visitors in New York. In 2014, an artist residency on the water called WetLand launched in Philadelphia. It is being utilized by the University of Pennsylvania’s Environmental Humanities program.

From Outrage to Action: Proposals for Climate, Resources and Planet 

Agnes Denes  •  Ismail Ferdous  •  Gideon Mendel    Civic Laboratory for Environmental Action Research (CLEAR), Max Liboiron, Director  •   Mark Read and Grayson Earle •  Louise Harpman,  Architecture and Urban Design LAB 2017 sponsored by Global Design NYU •   Mary Mattingly • nadahadaThe Yes Men