Marlene McCarty: Into the Weeds

A photo of Marlene McCarty: In the Weeds installed at UB CFA Gallery.

Marlene McCarty: Into the Weeds, 2019, installation view, University at Buffalo Art Galleries. 


October 5, 2019–February 1, 2020


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Marlene McCarty


Marlene McCarty: Into the Weeds is a multi-faceted project by the Brooklyn-based artist who has worked across various media throughout her decades-long practice. 

For her presentation in Buffalo, McCarty has turned to plants to affirm ways to not only survive but thrive in toxic conditions. At once poisonous and healing and used by women historically to maintain their sexual and reproductive health, Mugwort, Queen Anne’s lace, and jimson weed are a few of the plants that have become both subject and material in this new project.At UB Art Gallery, Center for the Arts, McCarty presents a large-scale drawing installation in which these plants are depicted in complex compositions using meticulous graphite and ballpoint pen lines. The drawings are accompanied by an installation of seedlings under grow lights, and a large mound of soil that will be home to a variety of potent plants under the gallery’s skylight.To extend the project outside of the gallery walls, McCarty with the support of the Arts Collaboratory has partnered with Silo City to create the artist’s first public art. 45 feet in diameter, McCarty’s living earthwork is a garden of poisonous plants. This addition to the Silo City’s landscape will be entrusted to their long-term care. Award-winning writer Jennifer Kabat was invited to compose an original essay, which was informed by the scholarly work on contemporary and historic Haudenosaunee relationship to the site by Dr. Alyssa Mt. Pleasant from UB Department of Transnational Studies. At both sites, visitors will receive a newsprint publication of Kabat’s essay and narrative description of the plants used in McCarty’s earthwork.

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