Mary Mattingly, Ecotopian Library, 2020–ongoing, rotating collection of books, natural and cultural objects that have been donated to share, various dimensions, www.ecotopianlibrary.com, Courtesy the artist and Robert Mann Gallery, New York, NY, Photograph: Jeff Wells
Mary Mattingly is an interdisciplinary artist who engages land and landscape, not through pictorial representations, but by creating public spaces that encourage community engagement and environmental education. Working like an activist, she responds to the urgency of climate crisis, noting: “Art for me is about new possibilities, it’s about life and survival . . . ” Instead of exploiting land for capitalistic gain, Mattingly asks us to value land as a complex living ecosystem that sustains us and is vital to our future. What is your relationship to land and place today? What futures can be imagined together?
For Women Reframe American Landscape, Mattingly created an interactive “Ecotopian Library” that brings together books, objects, artworks, and specimens that reflect the history and ecology of the Thomas Cole Site and Hudson Valley. It connects meaningfully to Thomas Cole and Emily Cole, artists who once lived and worked at this place and who also directly engaged with nature, environmental preservation, and local flora and fauna.