Mary Mattingly featured in New York Times

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WHAT TO SEE IN NEW YORK ART GALLERIES THIS WEEK

BY JILLIAN STEINHAUER

Mary Mattingly’s new collage photographs are disorienting. One, titled “Endgame” (2017), centers on a picture of two cranes standing in marshy waters. As the birds dip their beaks, the slope of their necks directs the viewer’s gaze downward, to a table in front of the picture, on which sit three objects: what looks like an oblong chunk of black rock, a pile of rocks tied together with string and shards of pottery similarly bound. Just below the tabletop, where there should be a wall, there is instead a rectangle of bare trees. It interrupts the illusionistic space and compounds a looming question: How do all the elements here conceptually connect?

For her exhibition at Robert Mann Gallery, “Because for Now We Still Have Poetry,” Ms. Mattingly researched the supply chains of minerals involved in photography: cobalt, phosphate, germanium and more. She discovered a system of mining and extraction whose complexity and scale are barely graspable. Her still lifes reflect this: They’re puzzles whose pieces we recognize, but whose compositions are dictated by a logic we don’t understand.

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