Mariah Reading

Bouy painted to match match surrounding landscape
A "Recycled Landscape" painted on a buoy discovered at Sand Beach in Acadia.

Photo courtesy of Mariah Reading. Used with permission.

I have been contemplating my relationship with art and the vast amount of waste creating can produce. Classically trained as a landscape painter, I pivoted to eco art when the parallel between painting landscapes and feeding landfills became overwhelmingly apparent. The landscapes that so richly inspired me were being hurt by the waste I created in order to depict them. To rectify this unwanted connection, I have developed a zero-waste practice that involves creating canvases from debris found during my travels through national parks and protected landscape environments. The physical pieces of trash are painted only on one side and intentionally left untouched on the reverse so the original piece of debris remains evident. Once completed, I photograph the painted object aligned with the physical landscape to both obscure and highlight the discarded object.

– Mariah Reading

Woman in a stand of trees splashed with sunlight
Mariah Reading

Mariah Reading is an eco-artist and strong advocate for the existence, preservation, and accessibility of the national parks. She was born and raised in Bangor, Maine where the surrounding landscape gave her a deep appreciation of nature’s beauty that was reinforced by her degree in visual arts at Bowdoin College. The 2016 National Park Centennial propelled her Recycled Landscapes, designed to bring attention to the need of preserving and protecting the environment. Having already visited 22 national parks, she plans to continue her project in all 59 U.S. national parks. Mariah has dedicated herself to the field of eco-art through her Artist-in-Residence at Denali and Zion National Parks, working as an Arts-in-the-Parks volunteer at the Guadalupe Mountains National Park, assisting in Yosemite Facelift efforts, developing a K-12 STREAM curriculum with University of California Santa Barbara Oceanography students, creating conservation workshops with the Channel Islands National Park, and partnering with Mount Rainier for volunteer projects. She has exhibited work in San Antonio, TX; Seattle, WA; and Fort Collins, CO; and has an upcoming show in Kamuela, HI. From April through September 2019 Reading is an Interpretive Park Ranger in Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska. Visit her website.


Last updated: January 7, 2020

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