You are here


Mary McCoy

Mary McCoy


Artist Work

wasp nest, graphite, acrylic
4 in. x 4 in. x 1 in.
Oracle Bones (detail)
deer bones, colored pencil, varnish
dimensions variable-minimum 12 in. x 24 in. diameter
Apothecary (detail)
found materials, jars, laser-printed labels, gold paint
dimensions variable, jars in this image = 8.75 in. x 4 in. x 17 in.
greenbrier vines
7 ft. H x 20 ft. W x 8 in. D
Snake Wound Its Way
snake skeleton, graphite
25 in. H x 8 in. W x 2 in. D
2019 (in collaboration with Howard McCoy)
9 ft. H x 7 ft. W x 6 ft. D

Artist Information

Queen Anne's County
Artistic Category

Visual Arts

Artist Statement

There’s a natural human urge to collect and scrutinize interesting bits of nature. In my work, I play on that urge for my own edification and as a means of encouraging viewers’ awareness of the natural world. I live on a riverside working farm on Maryland’s rural Eastern Shore that has been in my family for generations, and I am an artist-in-residence at a nearby arboretum dedicated to the conservation of the native landscapes of the Chesapeake region. These environments offer constant opportunities for surprise and discovery. Each of my artworks begins with curiosity about the things I encounter, perhaps a lost feather, a bleached bone, a plant just beginning to blossom, or the way the sunset moves up and down the river with the seasons. I collect materials that I find outdoors and often physically include them in my artworks. Because I find that understanding grows from approaching natural phenomena from many different angles, I freely mix these objects with words, drawings, paintings and photographs. My work ranges from large site-specific sculptures made with natural materials such as vines, branches or oyster shells to small, intimate artist’s books, drawings and paintings frequently including found natural materials. I am a writer and often include short phrases or poems in my works. I choose to create art that is both visceral and purposefully non-intimidating with the aim of stirring a personal, felt response. It’s important to me to acknowledge life and death, impermanence, change, and the passage of time. Because I feel that nature is our first and best teacher, touching us in direct, physical ways that inspire curiosity and the primal sense of child-like wonder and belonging so lacking in our urbanized and digitalized world, I work to make art that is antidotal to the increasingly self-referential nature of our culture.

Artist Bio

Mary McCoy


B.S. in Studio Art, 1978, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY


Related Experience

Artist-in-Residence, Adkins Arboretum, 1999 through present

Curator, Adkins Arboretum Outdoor Invitational Series 2002 through present

Curator, juror and panelist for numerous exhibitions and forums in Washington, DC; Annapolis;

     and Eastern Shore of Maryland

Freelance art critic for The Chestertown Spy, The Talbot Spy (current); The Washington Post, New Art

     Examiner, American Craft, The Washington Review, International Sculpture (1984–1995)

Critic-in-Residence, Women’s Studio Workshop, Rosendale, NY 1987


Solo Exhibitions and Collaborative Exhibitions with Howard McCoy

Howard County Center for the Arts, Ellicott City, MD, 2-person show, 2021

Adkins Arboretum, Ridgely, MD, solo show, 2019

Adkins Arboretum, Ridgely, MD, collaborative outdoor installation shows, 2019, 2017, 2015, 2013,

     2011, 2009, 2007, 2005, 2003, 2001, 1999

Washington College Sandbox Initiative, Chestertown, MD, “The Standing People,” collaborative

     project with scientist and writer Joan Maloof, Old-Growth Forest Network,          2016

Lake Roland Park, Baltimore, MD, “Art on the Trail,” 2014–16

Adkins Arboretum, Ridgely, MD, “Burn Time,” collaborative sculpture in conjunction with Tent

     Symposium: “Nature Lessons—Looking toward a Resilient Future,” 2014

Academy Art Museum, collaborative installation, 2013, 2012

Daly 208, Washington College, Chestertown, MD, "Convergence," 2013

Adkins Arboretum, Ridgely, MD, “Calligraphy in the Forest,” collaborative outdoor installation

     show with Kit-Keung Kan and Howard McCoy, 2009–2010

BlackRock Center for the Arts, Germantown, MD, collaborative show with Kit-Keung Kan and

     Howard McCoy, 2006

Salisbury University, Salisbury, MD, collaborative outdoor installation show, 2005

Radcliffe Mill Gallery, Chestertown, MD, collaborative show, 2005

 “Spirit of Place,” Huntington, VT, outdoor environmental sculpture show, 2001, 1998

Gwndwn Workshops and Cardigan Heritage Center, Cardigan, Wales, U.K., collaborative

     installation, “Family Ties,” 1997

Bluemont Park, Arlington, VA, “Color Run,” collaborative installation, commissioned by Arlington

     County, 1995

Target Gallery, Torpedo Factory, Alexandria, VA, “Separate Place,” collaborative show, 1994

Loyola College, Baltimore, MD, “Links and Intersections,” collaborative show, 1992

Spirit Square Center for the Arts, Charlotte, NC, “Passing Time,” collaborative show, 1991

Gallery 10 Ltd., Washington, DC, collaborative shows, 1990, 1987

Brody’s Gallery, Washington, DC, “The Turning of the Year,” collaborative show, 1989

International Conference on Sculpture, Dublin, Ireland, “Cycle Works,” collaborative installation,


Mary & Jack Henderson, New Paltz, NY, “Water Recess,” solo outdoor installation, 1988

Georgetown College, Georgetown, KY, collaborative show, 1987

School 33 Art Center, Baltimore, MD, “Inversion Room,” collaborative installation, 1986

Hardart, Washington, DC, solo show and collaborative show, both 1984

Gallery One, Alexandria, VA, solo show, 1981



The Turning Year, 2019, available from The Bookplate, Chestertown, MD and

Iceland, 2018, available from The Bookplate, Chestertown, MD and

Tree Tales, 2015, available from The Bookplate, Chestertown, MD and

Numerous limited edition handmade books