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IntroductionMary Kocol’s inspiration grows from the memories planted in the gardens that her father and his friends grew during her childhood. These gardens – cultivated with fruits, vegetables, and ornamental plants such as peonies, irises and carnations – still live within her mind. In her most recent works, a series of frozen, shimmering flowers, Kocol reflects upon themes such as gardens, landscape, and seasonal changes. The flowers are frozen in ice, then photographed in sunlight, creating everlasting evidence of two temporal states. In the process, there is always an element of chance and surprise, making each creation unique and unpredictable.
The artist works with analogue photography rather than digital technology because she enjoys the element of surprise that analogue photography entails. “The lack of surprise and the will to do things on my own inspired me to create this series of ice sculptures…the end result is unknown until the sculpture is removed from its mold and exposed to sunlight.” Only then do the unexpected details reveal themselves, and they’re often accompanied by the sweet scent of the flowers that permeates through the ice. In addition to medium format, Kocol also uses a toy camera with a plastic lens. She uses this method to revel in the imperfections of the camera and use its vagarious sharpness as a creative tool.
Mary Kocol is a photographer based in Somerville, Massachusetts. Her works were first exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in 1991. Her photographs illustrating urban twilight are featured in the permanent collections at institutions such as the Museum of Modern Art, the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, the Victoria and Albert Museum, among many others. She was a recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship and several other fellowships from the Massachusetts Cultural Council. Her work is published in the New York Times Magazine, Boston Magazine, Gardens Illustrated, and Doubleday Books. Mary Kocol was born in Hartford, Connecticut and studied at both the University of Connecticut and the Rhode Island School of Design, where she earned a master's degree in photography. She works as a photographer at the Harvard University Art Museum, where she photographs the art collection.
1962 Born in Hartford, Connecticut. Lives and works in the Boston area.