Mary Mattingly is a highly imaginative artist. In a genre of work akin to science fiction, she extrapolates today’s developments to create a vision of a future world.
The background to some of her themes has been explored before but her work, evolving over a number of years, builds, layer upon layer, to create an ever more cohesive vision of where our current trajectories may lead us in the future. Concepts of a living environment that becomes increasingly hostile through desertification or rising waters are nothing new. However, Mattingly develops her fantasy world further, having all but destroyed their surrounding environment, we see images of a nomadic people living in ‘wearable homes’ crammed with all manner of modern technology. Individuality is eroded and homogenization is the rule. Mattingly’s nomadic people look bemused. They seem surprised that the world around them has somewhow disappeared. They wear their beloved hi-technology but they have nowhere to go.
We can clearly see how this vision of the future is an almost straight line extrapolation of today’s world with its near deification of technological advance and its increasing disdain for the natural world.
Mattingly develops these future visions in extreme detail and then shows us glimpses of them through constructed photographic images, videos and drawings. Her work becomes thoughtful and provocative when viewed as a complete body of work.
Her web site (www.marymattinglyglobal.org) is intense. Full of a combination of dense (and occasionally abstruse) text, images, drawings, videos and external links it creates an impression of an artist deeply, almost obsessively, absorbed in the detailed creation of her world of fantasy.
As part of her detailed development of scenarios of future living, Mattingly also founded the Waterpod – “a sustainable, sculptural art and technology habitat, with four artists living on and off it, generating food, water, and power in a contained and self-sufficient environment.”
Mary Mattingly is patiently constructing detailed images of a future that, if one has the patience to persist and work through her body of work, leads us to question the wisdom of our current social, technological and environmental trajectories.