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Mary Temple

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Extended Afternoon, Phase 3 at the Aldrich Museum
Extended Afternoon, Phase 3 at the Aldrich Museum
IMAGE DESCRIPTION : Top image from the Light Installation Series: Extended Afternoon, Phase 3, latex paint on existing architecture, hardwood planks, wood stain, varnish, 17 x 24 x 23.5 in (installation view at the Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Ridgefield, CT, 2006)

Below left and right, images are from the Postcard Skies Series : far left : pinkfauxwoodgrain, Photocollage, 18 x 30 in, 2004. - left : bluescallopsgreenclapboard, Photocollage, 18 x 24 in, 2004. - right : orangegreenclapboard, Photocollage, 24 x 18 in, 2004.

Much of my work is concerned with environmental perception, whether that environment be a physical structure or as abstract as a psychological impression. On this webpage there are images from two bodies of work. The portraits of my neighbor's houses in front of picture-perfect postcard skies make me think about the fluidity of the meaning of home, and how lithe the shifts in our perception of an environment can be. The first set of images is from the series, Light Installations, which are trompe l’oeil paintings that appear to be light and shadow cast on a wall and/or wooden floor from a nearby window. Often the images are in rooms where there is little or no natural light, nor corresponding windows. The efficacy of a window relies entirely on the viewer’s conception of an aperture that will explicate the image--a window, door or possibly a skylight. The conceptual intervention, an aperture, constructed by the viewer lasts only for the period of time they are convinced that what is seen is thrown light and cast shadow, rather than a painting on a wall. While considering the illusion, viewers question reality and their experience of a particular place is radically altered, according to their own specifications.

The second set of images is from a photocollage series, Postcard Skies. After moving to Brooklyn in 1997 I began documenting some of my favorite buildings in Williamsburg, enjoying the idiosyncratic artistry with which people in the neighborhood had distinguished their buildings from the adjoining blocks of apartments. Noting the encroaching gentrification and real estate development in Williamsburg, I realized that these quirky homes, would soon be replaced by gleaming modernism. In Postcard Skies, I’ve isolated the façades of my neighbor’s homes and juxtaposed them against dramatic skies, much the way a postcard image of a monument might be framed. The hand cut façade stands precariously, evoking an historic ruin or a theater set. The sky portion of these collages were shot in an area renown for its skies and sunsets—the American Southwest, my home until I moved to New York in 1996.

- More images of these and other series of work can be found at and

Mary Temple
New York, NY
New York
North America

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