Americana Memento Mori was prompted by an extraordinary series of paintings at the Smithsonian. During the Depression of the 1930’s, the American government commissioned over 1,000 artists to record in paintings a wide range of American folk art ranging from tin signs and ship’s figureheads to toys and pottery. The purpose was to preserve our heritage, but also to provide decent paying work to unemployed artists. Those men and women made meticulous photo-realistic renderings in pencil and watercolor that are amazing works of art in their own right.
My work is based on those images, presented as memento mori for our nation. Each figure, now transfigured with a skeletal head, is worked in black felt and mounted on a vintage tablecloth that bears the wear and tear of use. Sadly, it seems like our country is slipping from the strength of her glory years into an inevitable decline as partisan wrangling pulls us apart. History proves that the way of all flesh is the way of all governments.
~ Mary Mazziotti, Artist
AMERICAN QUILT BLOCK (detail) 54″ X 48″
AMERICAN FEMALE FIGUREHEAD (detail) 54″ X 46″
AMERICAN MALE FIGUREHEAD (detail) 46″ X 46″
AMERICAN FOLK ART BASEBALL (detail) 66″ X 56″
AMERICAN BABYDOLL (detail) 64″ X 48″
AMERICAN CAROUSEL GOAT (detail) 51″ X 50″
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Mary M. Mazziotti is an American visual artist whose practice includes textiles and painting with a special interest in contemporary memento mori. She exhibits at the O. K. Harris Gallery in NYC and in represented by Borelli-Edwards Galleries in Pittsburgh. Ms. Mazziotti has exhibited widely in galleries and museums including The Carnegie Museum of Art, The Andy Warhol Museum, The Mattress Factory, The Urban Institute for Contemporary Art and the Rundetaarne in Copenhagen. The artist has been selected for residencies in Venice, Spain, France, and Australia as well as throughout the United States. Ms. Mazziotti’s work has been featured and reviewed in ArtNews, Chicago Art Journal, and The Pittsburgh Post Gazette and can be seen at www.mazziottiart.com.
The artist lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with her husband, architect, Keith Cochran. She has previously lived and worked in Bermuda, the Middle East and Singapore.