My work explores the human condition, cultural and individual identity, and the social climate. I’m an Interdisciplinary artist working across mediums. My inspiration comes largely from current issues while people and their stories fuel my creative process. I rework commonplace objects abstracted from their typical functions to weave visual and narrative threads into new cultural artifacts. Navigating scale or using unexpected materials serves to re-contextualize and challenge our perspective. I am interested in memory and time and life cycles, reflecting on the past, questioning the present, and challenging the future.
My sculpture makes use of imagery to tempt a physical and philosophical discomfort. Monumental scale can change the relationship of the experience for the viewer, expanding the human connection from intimate to uncomfortable, familiar to ceremonious. Art of the body is read by the body and elicits a visceral reaction. I play with this confrontation. My use of re-contextualization pushes the viewer to feel with their heart, question with their mind, and to embrace a visual aesthetic that is seductively elegant yet complex.
Creative use of lighting supports the architectural scale of my work, establishes an aura of serenity, and alludes to sacredness. My practice incorporates traditional processes of drawing, bronze casting, and use of digital sound and video projection. The choice of materials reinforces the ideology of the work. I use a rhythmic gestural quality of line, incorporating cursive neon or metal wire, writing and drawing in three dimensions.
Mary Coss is an Interdisciplinary Visual Artist born in Detroit and currently working in Seattle. She has lived throughout the US, and traveled abroad extensively, collecting stories to tell through her artwork. Mary received an MFA from Syracuse University in Experimental Studios, an alternative sculpture and media department. Her narrative inspired sculpture and installation explores the intersection between nature and contemporary society, integrating sound and light to weave issues of social relevance.
Coss’s graduate work garnered her a University Fellowship and two Ford Foundation Grants. She has received Grant support from NEA, Puffin Foundation, Artist Trust, 4Culture and Seattle Art and Culture. Travel has been integral to her practice, including a cultural exchange and exhibit at Candyland Arts in Stockholm. Residencies include a 3-year installation residence at San Juan Museum & Sculpture Park, Playa, Centrum, James Washington Foundation, Willapa Bay, and Cill Rialaig and Greywood Arts in Ireland.
Coss’s exhibition record includes galleries, museums, and sculpture parks. Recent solo shows and feature exhibits include AgentC in Vancouver, BC, BONFIRE and METHOD Galleries in Seattle, Museum of Northwest Art, and the Wing Museum. She has won several juried awards including Special Recognition Award “Art to Change the World: Inspiring Social Justice”; from the ACLU at ArtPrize and was a finalist for 2014 Arte Laguna Artprize at the Venice Arsenale. Her community and public art is found throughout the Northwest and her work can be found in several sculpture parks including San Juan Island Sculpture Park and Webster Woods at Port Angeles Art Museum.