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From Formation to Murmuration

Mary Skrenta

“…Lichen is the outward manifestation of process…
…it’s not the parts…
You can never predict from the bits and pieces within it
how it’s going to behave.
Emergence is everywhere around
in everything that lives.
And if you live long enough with this,
you start to see the world in a quite different way:
The idea that the world has agency
So that things are always
in the process

~Trevor Goward, Lichenologist
from the short film
by Lisa Jackson, 2019

We are Nature, Nature is Us.
We admire shapes and forms in nature, yet this admiration does not transfer to our own bodies. We admire
the wrinkling leaves in the fall, the undulating forms of flora, yet when our own flesh wrinkles, dimples, and folds over on itself we despair. We don’t attempt to inject smoothing agents into the autumn leaves. We
admire as they fall; yet autumn is the dusk of death. It is the very fear of death that forces manipulation of
flesh in painful and grotesque ways.
Yet we accept death as a part of life so easily
in Nature.
Perhaps because we think we are somehow above it?
This fear of death leads to fear of aging, and fear turns to loathing.
Loathing turns to blindness, making the aged invisible.
As I age, I embark on a series of self-portraiture.
I stand against society’s fear and loathing.
I make myself VISIBLE.
We are the sum of our parts…
Every moment, every person, every experience
within us, bringing us to
very moment.
No good or bad.
No positive or negative.
It is all simply…truth.
Truth of the present moment.
Truth of Being…
ourselves by letting go.

Special thanks to Erica Rodney for studio assistance and photography

Special thanks to Alissa Ohashi for reference photography

*in___VISIBLE materials:
Coffee, tea, graphite, copper, epoxy resin, lichen, gold leaf, my writing, recovery, insight, excerpts from: The Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Waller, Power by Adrienne Rich, and transcripts of Trevor Goward, Lichenologist from the short film LICHEN by Lisa Jackson

Mary Skrenta grew up in the shadow of the New York City skyline, but left home at a young age to spend the early part of her life traveling, exploring, and learning. After graduating from Capital University in Columbus, Ohio with dual degrees, she went on to earn her MFA at Columbus College of Art & Design.

She has exhibited her art across the United States, is the recipient of numerous awards and grants, and is the first adjunct professor in the history of CCAD to earn the annual Teaching Excellence Award (2018-2019).

She is equally passionate about teaching, making, and living mindfully. She believes each practice informs the other, and that sharing the gift of creativity is a vocation, not a job. She has experienced firsthand the power of art to heal and raise consciousness, and she is dedicated to helping others realize that awareness. She teaches various media and disciplines in her studio and with the Veterans Arts Initiative, both in Columbus, Ohio. She is a founding member of the artists’ collective MAKE. (Mindful Artists Knowing Existence) whose mission statement is: Exploring creativity as a tool to shift consciousness.

She is a multi-media artist currently exploring a combination of experimental and traditional media in work that provokes thought and questions notions of value, heavily inspired by nature, philosophy, ageism, and contemporary society.

Mary is a lifelong learner and the proud mother of two amazing humans, both attending college. In addition to art, she enjoys music, drumming, singing, dancing, yoga, hiking, exploring, reading, nature, laughter, mindfulness, and compassion.