Headlands Center for the Arts

Mary O’Brien

california | architecture/environment
Affiliate Program 2018—2019
Affiliate Program 2017—2018

Artist Statement

I tell evolving stories about public domain lands, that take place over several years, and
where the events documented, and the places where they occur become inseparable
from each other. My essays are rooted in my environmental practice where I investigate
present day relationships between community and land, and ways in which they
influence each other.

Mapped through geologic time and human history, these essays chronicle both historic
and current day ecological events. As deregulation of environmental protections
becomes a potentiality, dissimilar communities find themselves straddled with equivalent
environmental urgencies. How these communities discover and share remedial civic
actions become lessons on environmental self-responsibility. They are offered as
catalyst for affecting positive ecological perceptions towards lands affected by the built

While at Headlands

My intention is to track the evolution of environmental loss in a number of distinct
communities and ecotones along with the effects of human interactions and desires;
civic response; and resulting ecological adaptations. I am working on composing these
essays, my research, maps, and drawings into a larger manuscript for publication.

Selected Works

Personal Website