After exhibiting eco-science-fiction photographs early in her career, Mary Mattingly started experimenting with real-life situations, living on her "Waterpod" project, drifting around New York Harbor in 2009 and more recently in various self-sufficient "Flock Houses." Here, she returns to photography and works that are scruffier than her earlier ones, but more personal and poignant. They're often funny, too—although the underlying message, as with most things eco, is apocalyptic.
For the exhibition, Ms. Mattingly bound up virtually all her possessions, creating what she calls "man-made boulders," which resemble postminimalist sculptures. One photograph finds her pulling a boulder down a city street, while another, "Ruin in Reverse" (2013), is reminiscent of photographs of Ana Mendieta, the Cuban-American performance artist — except here a gravelike trench is filled with a bundle of castoff objects rather than a woman's body.
Art history allusions abound, since Ms. Mattingly's possessions include, unsurprisingly, lots of art books and ephemera. A copy of "Janson's History of Art" can be spotted in "Ruin in Reverse." Another photo fills Michael Heizer's earthwork "Double Negative" (1969-70) in Nevada with a bright blue-green "boulder," also reminiscent of Christo and Jeanne-Claude's wrapped objects.
Photography's recent history is also invoked. Where digital manipulation was embraced in the '80s and then eschewed in the aughts, Ms. Mattingly chooses a third path: her clumsy and obvious Photoshopping looks like an environmental disaster someone was either too arrogant or lazy (or incompetent) to clean up—which works perfectly in this context.