The artists on view in February at Kingston Gallery use their work to bring cultural and political rhetoric into the visual space, as they explore the concepts of the impact of militarized zones on communities, and Black Beauty in America. In the Project Space, Mary Lang’s landscape photography explores her inquiry into our tangled inextricable relationship with the planet in I Know I’m Looking at Something.

Over the past year or so, Mary Lang has found herself photographing entangled trees, vines, and almost impenetrable thickets of growth. This marks a significant change from her decades of photographs offering a feeling of space - groundlessness, a vast sky, open water, or an expansive horizon. Lang wonders, “Why? What am I looking at? What am I trying to see? Or describe?” She wonders if it might be something about the concept of entanglement, a word which scientists and climate activists use to describe the complexity of this planet - the simple yet often ignored truth that everything we do, all living things, everything that the earth does, weather, plate tectonics, atmosphere, oceans, are completely entangled, interdependent, and inseparable.

With this selection of prints, Lang is showing work about which she is uncertain – truly a work in progress. Some of these images likely could have been more technically successful, if she had a tripod along on her walks or explorations, but usually she doesn’t. For any number of reasons, an artist’s work is not always successful in their eyes, but Lang is putting the work up on a wall for viewers to look at. She expects to know and understand more about these photographs after they have been on the walls of the gallery for a month. She may ask the viewers for help in understanding her purpose, and in understanding what she is looking at.

Mary Lang is an artist who attempts to communicate the intangible energy animating the visible world by aiming her camera at ordinary forms of landscape and space. She received an MFA in photography from Pratt Institute and has taught at Bunker Hill Community College, New England School of Art & Design, UMass Lowell, Middlesex Community College, and the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester. She is a member of the Kingston Gallery in Boston, where in the past twelve years she has mounted several well-received one-person shows. She was selected for the 2004 DeCordova Annual Exhibition. Her work is in the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Fogg Museum, the DeCordova Museum, the Spencer Museum, and the Smith College Museum of Art, as well as numerous private collections. Until two years ago, she still used film and has worked in both black and white and color, in 35mm, using a Leica M4 for the black and white and a Nikon F for the color. Now she uses a Lumix 5 and is learning to use Photoshop.

Increasingly, her work is informed by her more than 35 years of Buddhist meditation practice. “Bringing the two strands of my path together, the art and the meditation, has been both liberating and intimidating. I cannot say that my work is informed by Buddhist understanding if I don’t have the practice to ground it. Also, the way I experience the world needs to be described photographically in a way that allows the viewer to experience phenomena without feeling manipulated. In the end, the view of the artist and the practitioner both arise from the same unconditioned perception of the world as a basically sacred place.”

Mary Lang was born in Evanston, Illinois, and attended Smith College in Northampton, Mass. She currently lives in Auburndale, Mass, and is married with two children.