Mary-Ellen Beattie, also known as May, is a installation artist and photographer from nearby Clarksburg. May is another of the fantastic Massachusetts artists to recently join our program. May creates interactive installation pieces by reusing and reconfiguring natural and manmade materials. She reinvents environments and life forms with the (mis)uses of common objects. Her work shows that re-forming materials into the unintended can lead to strange, interesting, and sometimes absurd juxtapositions.
May’s work is heavily invested in viewer interaction and she aims for the viewer or participant to have an unexpected experience with the materials. For example, the project pictured right is constructed out of trash bags and a small re-purposed door. The viewer is invited to climb inside the small structure and interact with the all-consuming plastic that lines the inside. As the participant moves and shifts in the enclosed space, the plastic rustles creating an ethereal rain-like sound as the translucent material diffuses a soft, natural light.
May received a BA from Dickinson College in 2012. She has exhibited her work widely across the Northeast in such places as the Nantucket Island School of Design & The Arts, Dickinson College, and the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. She has also exhibited her ceramic work internationally at the Jingdezhen Ceramic Institute in China.
If you’re a North Adams local, you’ve probably seen May around town! She currently works as a gallery assistant at MCLA’s Gallery 51 and is an active member of the local Berkshire arts scene.
Head to her website to keep up to date on May’s latest projects.