The University of Chicago Magazine Interview
The University of Chicago Magazine Peer Review. February 2006 by Brooke E. O’Neill “Grass-roots art”
An interview printed in The University of Chicago Magazine in 2006 featured a discussion of my career to date and showcased my paintings and prints. Be sure to click on “Read More” for “
Grass-roots art: Artist Mary Ott communes with nature one blade at a time.”
Washington Post Review of Metallics at Touchstone Gallery
Excerpted from: The Washington Post Style—Galleries February 19, 2017 by Mark Jenkins
“Metallics,” the title of Mary D. Ott’s show at Touchstone Gallery, refers to her use of gold, silver and copper paint and ink. But the subject of the Silver Spring artist’s paintings and prints is not metal but grass,
a longtime interest. Wispy blades are conjured with embroidery yarn dipped into pigment to produce hundreds of lines, usually vertical. The resulting image could be an unmown lawn, a wild prairie or merely an exercise
In color and form. The metallic hues give the paintings an undulating glow that suggests daybreak or sunset. The prints lack that luminosity, but they’re just as compelling. Ott uses string much as she does thread in the
paintings, drawing lines on a plate that’s then etched. The elegant “Wide Grass” series renders meadows in blue and silver, and “Grass Bouquet VI” contrasts lacy, detailed fronds in black with looser shapes in reddish brown.
This is the meadow as a minimalist Eden, a place of narrow yet infinite variety.
Washington Post Review of Grasses at Touchstone Gallery
Excerpted from: The Washington Post Style—Galleries April 29, 2011 by Mark Jenkins “Natural selections”
… Mary D. Ott’s prints of wild grasses … present their subjects in manageable sizes and formats, and emphasize craft over conceptualism.
Ott uses dried ornamental grasses as the motifs for monotypes and screen prints that showcase color as much as form. Some prints show wispy shapes on white backgrounds, while others frame the grass’s fragile outlines
in reverse and are primarily blocks of bold colors, including reds and red-browns. (Few of these works are green.) The artist also suggests grass in etchings that are actually made with thread, creating rows of thin lines that
evoke stalks. These “wide grass’’ pieces are sometimes printed in ways that abstract the basic design.
Ott’s prints suggest traditional Asian art, and some of them are printed on Japanese kochi or Thai unryu paper, adding vegetable textures to the images of vegetation. The pieces are beautifully made and unapologetically
decorative. This work may perform merely the gentlest of twists on its natural inspirations, but it does so with skill and grace.
The Examiner Review of Prints of Old Europe at Touchstone Gallery
The Examiner Best Galleries April 19, 2007 by Robin Tierney “Essence exposed: Aging gracefully before your eyes”
You may not want Mary D. Ott to do your portrait, but you’ll be awed by her ability to express the gracefully aging souls of things wrought by man and nature. Invigorating her screenprinting with oil, wax and other media,
Ott transforms scenes from her travels into layered, crepitating mirages.
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Page revised December 2021.