Mary Carlson, Margaret of Antioch, 2009, glazed porcelain, 6 x 3 x 3"

Larissa Bates, Milkyway Man in Swan Throne, gouache on panel, 7 x 5"

Larissa Bates, Ethel Walker’s Volleyball Stars of 1929 and Wrestlers, gouache on paper, 7 x 10"

current project

Mary Carlson and Larissa Bates

Opening Reception:

Sunday, March 15, 3-5PM




Drive-By Projects, 81 Spring Street, Watertown, MA


Thursdays 12-4pm and by appointment.

Drive-By Projects is pleased to present Nothing Pathetic About Her, an exhibition of paintings by Larissa Bates and ceramic sculpture by Mary Carlson.

This deceptively diminutive show includes two artists whose understated approach to scale and color belies the impact of their work. Both evoke the stories of iconic feminine characters to address issues of personal and cultural identity. Presenting their subjects as the protagonists in famous paintings of saints and the gospels, Bates and Carlson lend their idiosyncratic works a hint of art historic gravitas.

In response to her upbringing by a single, widowed father, Larissa Bates has conceived a personal creation myth that tells a complex and sometimes baleful story involving class, race, media, colonialism, and the ways that we choose to remember our histories. Featuring eccentric characters such as a masculine form of the Virgin Mary and quasi-feminine wrestlers in tights, Bates' small, power-packed paintings explore her evolving take on mainstream masculinity in relation to family structure.

The title of the exhibition, Nothing Pathetic About Her, comes from Mary Carlson's description of one of her subjects, St. Margaret of Antioch, patron saint of childbirth. Presented in her traditional standing pose, Carlson’s Margaret, a pastel porcelain figure with a doll-like face, gazes placidly ahead as she cradles the demon that she has recently defeated. In the words of critic Jerry Saltz, "It's as if those postcards on your fridge came to magical 3-D life and inhabited your space like beloved friends and ancient ancestors."

drive-by online to view the work in the exhibition >

Upcoming Project

Drive-By Projects' upcoming project, Everyone Has a Favorite Mug, opens April 23 and is guest curated by Kelly Sherman.

view upcoming >

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Artists who inflect natural scenes with heated palettes or stylized forms, such as John Marin and Milton Avery, describe much more than…

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