May 20 – September 10, 2023 Opening: May 20, 2023 (12 – 5pm)

Mary Mattingly
Ebb of a Spring Tide

Images:  Scott Lynch, Alexa Hoyer, Concept image courtesy of the Artist

About | Press Release | Artworks | Plant Guide  | Digital Media | Exhibition Brochure

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On View May 20 – September 10, 2023

Ebb of a Spring Tide is an exhibition of new sculptural works by Mary Mattingly exploring our relationship to coastal ecosystems and the shifting nature of rivers and water lines.

The exhibition will feature a 65-foot living sculpture titled Water Clock, fabricated on-site in response to the Park’s unique waterfront location along the East River. This monumental, scaffold structure, which includes edible vegetation, mirrors the cityscape across the East River, highlighting the human impact on New York City’s riparian zone. The clock’s pulse is kept by water from the East River moving through tubes on the structure, a reminder of a life support system and the delicate balance of coastal ecosystems.

According to Mattingly, “Water Clock is a tribute to the power of water, time, and the life force of this riparian edge. It vocalizes tidal shift with a composition for the twice-daily rise and fall of the oceans, brought on by the lunar cycle and unfurled by this climate crisis.”

At Socrates, as for so many other areas in the City, the land is under constant and direct threat from the impact of climate change. Central to the work is the way it refers to the shifting nature of rivers and water lines, and how the East River is not just a line on a map but an integral part of a larger water cycle. For all visitors, the work brings awareness to and highlights the impending threat of sea level rise in this neighborhood. At the same time it seeks to inspire hope that we can prepare for a changing world through innovative design and a restorative relationship with nature.

The exhibition also includes a Flock House, expanding on the artist’s ongoing series of mobile, self-sufficient living systems that challenges notions of home and community. Designed to be adaptable, this dynamic structure acts as a growing, making, and eventual living space to fit the evolving needs of the project. Visitors will have the opportunity to engage with the Flock House through a series of workshops and activations throughout the summer.



**Please DO NOT TOUCH or CLIMB the artworks**

Water Clock, 2023
Steel, vessels, found materials, East River water, and salt-tolerant, edible plants
Image: Scott Lynch

Listen to Mary Mattingly speak about Water Clock —>

Flock House, 2023
Steel, found materials, photographic garden, and dye garden
Image: Scott Lynch

Listen to Mary Mattingly speak about Flock House —>

Plant Guide

List of Plants on View —>

Plants are living markers of time, representing growth and renewal. Climate change has a profound impact on our planet, especially in coastal cities like New York City, where sea levels are expected to rise between 8 and 30 inches by the 2050s, and as much as 15 to 75 inches by the end of the century. To address this issue, Mattingly designed a salt-tolerant garden as a proposal for environmental resiliency. This garden, with its forty species of edible, medicinal, and pollinator-friendly plants,  provides opportunities for regeneration and collective resourcefulness. It encourages us to consider how we can work together to adapt to our changing world through a restorative relationship with nature.

Digital Media

Kaitlin Garcia-Maestas, Curator & Director of Exhibitions introduces Mary Mattingly Ebb of a Spring Tide.

Mary Mattingly narrates a short film about Ebb of a Spring Tide. 

Video created by: KMDECO Creative. Courtesy of Socrates Sculpture Park, 2023.

Exhibition-related Events

Green Day: Soil Jam —>
Terrarium Workshop with Mary Mattingly
April 22 | 11am – 5pm

Opening Celebration —>
Mary Mattingly: Ebb of a Spring Tide
May 20, 2023 | 12 – 5pm

Celebrate the opening day of Ebb of a Spring Tide with music, workshops, and local and seasonal culinary offerings at the Park! The event is free, no reservations required. Rain or shine!

Lotic Time —>
August 5, 2023 | 2 – 7pm

Lotic Time is a culminating event featuring a series of public activations that will reflect and respond to core themes of Mary Mattingly: Ebb of a Spring Tide.


Nov/Dec 2023. Sculpture Magazine “Repetition & Endurance: A Conversation with Mary Mattingly

August 24, 2023. Aesthetica “Outdoor Exhibitions: 5 to See this Season

August 24, 2023. QueensScene “A Living Sculpture

July 27, 2023. AI-AP Dart (American Illustration – Design Arts Daily) “Mary Mattingly at Socrates Sculpture Park

July 19, 2023. Jejune Magazine “Mary Mattingly’s Eco-Conscious Activism – Imagined Futures in Bloom

July 10, 2023. Mold Magazine “A Trickle in Time

July 8, 2023. The Brooklyn Rail “Art and the State of Water

June 14, 2023. Hyperallergic “30 Art Shows to See in New York This Summer

June 7, 2023. untapped new york “The East River powers this Sculptural Clock by Mary Mattingly in Queens.”

May 18, 2023. It’s in Queens “#InTheLoop | Living Art Piece Teams Up with the East River

May 2, 2023. Untapped New York “15 Public Art Installations to See in NYC, May 2023

May 2023. Art of Change 21 “In Conversation with Mary Mattingly

April 11, 2023. GothamToGo “Mary Mattingly: Ebb of a Spring Tide to Open at Socrates Sculpture Park


Mary Mattingly (b. 1978) is an interdisciplinary artist committed to storytelling through public art, with a focus on imagined futures. She founded Swale, an edible landscape on a public barge in NYC, and has worked on recent projects such as Limnal Lacrimosa in Glacier National Park and Public Water with +More Art in NY. Her work has been exhibited globally, including at the Cuenca, Istanbul, and Havana Biennials, and in institutions such as Storm King, the Brooklyn Museum, and the Palais de Tokyo. Mattingly has received grants from foundations such as the James L. Knight Foundation and has been featured in various documentaries and publications, including Art21 and The New York Times. She was recently awarded a 2023 Guggenheim Fellowship in Visual Arts. Her monograph titled “What Happens After” was published by the Anchorage Museum and Hirmer in 2022.

Image: Courtesy of the Artist


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