Building on her background in printmaking and drawing, Mary Stewart now combines digital photography with drawing and painting to create magical invented landscapes ranging in size from 20x20” to 44x96.” Derived from photographs taken in Costa Rican rainforests, Continuum connects the macroscopic with the microscopic. Entanglements was inspired by the visual density and complexity of the local vegetation and the primordial world it evokes. Part of a new series, Surface Tension reveals the complexity of nature through multiple layers of information.
Mary Stewart teaches in the Department of Art at Florida State University. Her work has been shown in over ninety exhibitions nationally and internationally, and she has received two Pennsylvania Council on the Arts grants for collaborative choreography. She is also the author of Launching the Imagination: A Comprehensive Guide to Basic Design, a best-selling design textbook. She received a Southeastern College Art Association Excellence in Teaching Award in 2010, the FATE (Foundations in Art: Theory and Education) Master Educator award in 2009 and the National Council of Arts Administrators Award of Distinction in 2008.
I am most interested in how we construct and express knowledge, both of ourselves and of the world around us. By digitally reconstructing photographic imagery to create new visual structures, I invite viewers to reflect on their existing knowledge and seek new understanding.
After moving to Tallahassee in 2006, the north Florida landscape became my primary source and inspiration. Entanglements was inspired by the visual density and complexity of the local vegetation and the primordial world it evokes. The Same Stream Twice continually re-combines the same ten digital photographs. As noted by the philospher Heraclites, experience is ever-changing: even when visiting the same location, we cannot step into the same stream twice.
My current artwork expands on the environmental imagery I began in 2006. The Cloudtower Series is based on photographs I took in a cloud forest in Costa Rica. Enveloped in mist, the tropical foliage becomes mysterious and almost monochromatic. Zipline platforms enhance the magical vision. Derived from photographs taken in Costa Rican rainforests, Continuum connects the macroscopic with the microscopic. Health in an ecosystem extends from the largest to the smallest structures. LeafStorm is more visceral. Measuring up to twelve feet in length, these images distort the photographic source material more ferociously, and the surface painting is much looser. As environmental destruction continues, I see storm clouds gathering.