Strange things can happen to sweet young girls from the city when they spend too much time in the forests around Boon, Michigan; particularly if someone lets them build things and play in the garden. Sweet young girls from the city can turn feral. Or at least that is what happened to Mary Beth Acosta. After many years of playing in the woods, her loving family began to notice the transformation and became concerned. They moved her to the cultural highpoint of Leelanau County (Northport) and then to the Mecca of the North -Traverse City, but nothing helped. Mary Beth had become the Feral Housewife. She became slightly more socially appropriate when she moved -the tools of her youth had been replaced with embroidery shears, glue sticks, and old magazines –but she had turned feral and there was no coming back. Now, instead of gardens and new additions to the house, Mary Beth creates collages.
Mary Beth has been creating her unique critiques on contemporary society since 2002. What began as pictorial journals “quickly grew” in Mary Beth’s words “into social commentary as well as an expression of my love of composition”. Hours of pouring through magazines from the 1920’s through the 1940’s and clipping out anything that peeked her fertile imagination has resulted in a series of clever colorful comments on the historical rolls of the sexes as they pertain to today’s society. The images found in the old print media combined with Mary Beth’s unique twist on things and the end result is a series of wonderfully provocative images of our contemporary world. Her Automobiles series investigates the blurred boundaries between the sales pitch and the “fantastical promises” behind the advertising, the exploitation of women’s sex appeal to sell dreams as well as cars. The Guys and the Gals series explores societal expectations and limitations through the use of stereotypical images taken to the extreme. “Feral Housewives” and “Oven Fresh” are June Cleaver gone very, very wrong. The image delivered in “Anne Stops the Train” is anything but subtle. These collages are simple but powerful revelations and worth your attention.
Mary Beth Acosta has gone feral. Her collage art is sure to provide ample opportunity to alter perceptions of your daily journey through the long strange trip that is contemporary American society. You may never be able to look at an old magazine again without smiling to yourself (or shuddering) and thinking of Mary Beth’s wonderful creations. You can find her work at the Kubiak Gallery in Douglas, Ella Vintage and the INside Out Gallery in Traverse City, or at her website: FeralHouswife.com.