Elizabeth Mackie and Kaitlyn Paston


Artist Statement

Address the River
Climate change is evidence of human influence on the planet’s timeline. Address the River draws attention to the harmful effects of society’s behavior on our beloved resource, the Delaware River. The river has been critical to the economy and local culture for centuries. Before European settlement, it was essential to the people of the Lenapehoking and continues to play a key role in the individual lives of residents of Philadelphia and the many towns in Pennsylvania and New Jersey which run along its sides.

South of Trenton, the river is influenced by the tide.  Climate change brings increasingly intense storms and a global rise in sea levels. The harbor in Philadelphia is affected by this global trend. Water quality in the Delaware is also threatened by the micro-plastics entering its stream. Plastics coming through the sewage systems and from other sources degrade into tiny pieces over time. Synthetic fibers in fabrics are also a dominant source of micro-plastic pollution. These unforeseen byproducts of our consumer civilization are extremely harmful to waterways and aquatic life. 

In the tradition of personifying bodies of water as women, the bodiless dress overlooking the harbor visualizes projected water level rises in coming years. It is accompanied by a soundscape which gives the water a female voice. The dress also represents society’s materialistic beauty ideals and fashion’s damaging contributions to water pollution.  In the context of imminent climate change, the large figure is a guardian of the water asking us to look closer at the connection between our priorities as humans and our dependence on the natural resources of the Earth. 

About The Artists

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Elizabeth Mackie is an interdisciplinary artist working in sculpture, installation. photography, video, sound and textiles. Her accomplishments include fellowships from Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation, New Jersey State Council on the Arts, The Center for New Media, Frankfurt, Germany, and NJ Institute of Technology. She received grants from Geraldine R Dodge Foundation, National Science Foundation, and Joseph Robert Foundation. Residencies include Visual Studies Workshop, Washington and Jefferson College, and six from Women’s Studio Workshop. Mackie’s independent video productions have been screened internationally, broadcast nationally and purchased by WHYY, Philadelphia. 

Mackie has exhibited her work in institutions throughout the United States and abroad, including Australia, Bulgaria, England, Canada, Austria, Poland, Spain, France, Italy, Republic of Cyprus, Germany, Chile and Brazil. In 2016-2019, she participated in three traveling international exhibitions. Recent exhibitions also include Space Invaders, Stedman Gallery, Rutgers-Camden Center for the Arts; Paper Pulse, Finesse Gallery, Sofia, Bulgaria; Navigating Elements, 2018 Arts Annual, New Jersey State Council on the Arts, Rowan University Art Gallery; Paperscapes, Philadelphia Art Alliance; 22nd Fiber Arts International, Pittsburgh; Artship Olympia, Cruiser Olympia, Philadelphia; Between the Threads, Rowan University; Museum of Paper and Watermark, Fabriano, Italy; Personal Histories, Redland Museum, Australia; Accessorize-The Person & The Place, 2015 NJ Arts Annual; Caucus Exhibition, Society for Photographic Education, New Orleans and Orlando, FL; Warp and Woof, Solo, Nexxt Gallery, NJ; Catagenesis, Globe Dye Works, Philadelphia; Global Warming at the Ice Houses, Crane Art Center, Philadelphia; Women’s Work, Ann Street Gallery, Newburgh, NY and Sculptural and Artist Books, Fitzroy, Melbourne, Australia.

She received an MFA and BFA from University of Maryland and a BS in mathematics from Salisbury University. She is a Professor of Art at The College of New Jersey and has taught in London, Cuba, and Frankfurt, Germany.

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Kaitlyn Paston is a multi-media artist living in Brooklyn, New York.  She uses movement and vocal performance in her work to filter ideas through the body resulting in expressionist collages. She studied at Tufts University and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, earning a BA in German and BFA in Studio Art. She has worked in collaboration with Elizabeth Mackie on several projects including Artship Olympia, New Jersey Arts Council Annual, and the Philadelphia Arts Alliance. Her multi-media installations have been shown nationally and internationally including Convention #1: Sounding Gender in Aarhus, Denmark, Space Invaders at Rutgers University, and Silent Sentinels at Ann Street Gallery.