Video courtesy Alex Jacobson for the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum
Mary Temple is a Brooklyn-based artist whose practice runs the media gamut - drawing, painting, installation, and now, sound art. Temple received her MFA in Painting and Drawing from Arizona State University and later studied at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine. She is best known for her subtle trompe l’oeil paintings that simulate cast light on gallery surfaces and alter perceptual experience. Although Temple’s practice has expanded into different media, her interests in perception, truth, deception, and memory at play in her painted installations remain at the heart of her Wall Works project, Someone Else’s Secret.
Someone Else’s Secret is a site-specific sound piece that is performed in the two semicircular galleries in the Dewey Family Gallery, at the DeCordova Musuem in Lincoln, MA every 30 minutes during museum hours. This collaborative piece asks the museum visitor to provide the script that will be read by a museum guard during the course of the exhibition. By providing “someone else’s secret,” the viewer writes a portion of the monologue that is performed at the top of the hour, and again at half-past.
Utilizing the unique acoustics of the galleries, the museum guard selects "someone else’s secret" from the desk’s vault and whisper this secret into the wall. The secret travels to the opposite gallery via parabolic arch, reverberating off the wall and the gallery. A museum visitor in the adjoining room hears this whisper as clearly as if the guard were standing next to her, speaking in her ear.
Temple’s work often negotiates the territory between truth and deception. For Someone Else’s Secret, she explores the idea of spoken “trusts”⎯ the telling, keeping, and dissemination of other people’s secrets⎯ as a type of currency. She raises uneasy questions about implied mores, transgression and third party confidences as exchanges of power and paths to intimacy.