Mary Manning’s enchantment with wild and public lands runs deep. Threats to commercialize and industrialize the West’s lands prompts her to paint reminders of the beauty that will be lost if extraction of minerals, oil and gas go forward on expansive spaces saved for generations to come.
Enchantment Endangered, a series of large multiple paintings capturing light, color and space in paint and gold, silver and copper leaf, expresses Mary’s deepest feelings for the lands she loves: Bears Ears, Gold Butte, the Earth itself.
The title painting, Enchantment Endangered, spreads across nine feet. Mary began to paint the three canvases on the floor of her home studio, pouring color and layering violet, reds and golds to create mountain shapes and golden skies with touches of violet clouds and a gold-leaf Sun. “The energy flowing through me as paints and water mingled on the landscape emerging across the canvas kept me engaged and committed to this work,” Mary says.
In addition to the Sun triptych, Mary created Tears of the Moon, featuring blues and silver leaf in another triptych.
Even our planet, Earth, is threatened by climate change, nuclear warfare, massive migrations, and chaotic claims by world leaders who fail to recognize the potential for harm. “Instead of painting a ‘Pale Blue Dot,’ the Earth emerges from a swirl of blue and silver clouds painted to show our planet emerging into a place filled with light and life,” Mary says.
Since she abandoned more realistic painting styles, Mary began incorporating gold, silver and copper leaf into her work after studying Oriental paintings for their designs to interpret her beloved western landscapes, producing her latest body of work over 40 years. She has lived in Utah, Nevada and California most of her life, drawing on the breath-taking beauty of wide, open spaces.
“These paintings may remind people what is at stake if we destroy the lands we love and the views that take our breaths away,” Mary said. “Capturing this enchantment continues to draw me to do this work, now more than ever.”
The Roene B. DiFiore Center for Arts and Education
307 North Main Street
St. George, Utah
February 1-28, 2018
11 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, except Sunday
and by appointment