Mary Lum Born 1951, in St. Cloud, MN, lives and works in North Adams, MA
Received her MFA from the Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY and her BFA from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI Carrol and Sons Gallery, Boston, MA
Mary Lum creates collages and wall works that outline and unfold space, gleaned from the margins of the urban environment. She collects fragmented images and the poetic undercurrents of the city through her camera lens, later dislocating these architectural details—stairwells and railings for instance—and repositioning them in geometric planes of color that open up space. In doing so, she draws attention to the overlooked but subliminally powerful architecture of modern life.
With frequent residencies in Paris, London, and New York, Lum casts herself in the role of the latter-day flâneuse (a French term meaning stroller coined by Charles Baudelaire). She ties her interest in flânerie back to Baudelaire, but also to Walter Benjamin’s unfinished Arcades Project and the concept of psychogeography as practiced by 1950s and 60s writers and artists of the Situationists International. Pyschogeography suggests the experience of one’s environment through intuition rather than cognitive organization. This kind of perceptive exploration of cities feeds Lum’s interdisciplinary practice.