Runs March 4 - 27, 2022
Meet the Artist: Mary Coss, Friday, March 4: 5-8pm
Call to Arms throws down the gauntlet to the patriarchy and questions gendered power dynamics through a twist of materials and imagery.
Mary Coss’ allegorical work explores contemporary social issues and existential questions. By altering the context of ideas, objects and tropes the viewer is provoked to consider their assumptions. She questions what we think we know, and invokes double standards and unspoken truths.
Coss frames her critique with modern and historical references. She usurps our imperfect past as she unearths feminine strength through the subject matter and the materials used. Cast bronze, traditionally used for monuments and body armor, is contemporized through her visceral adaptations. Her use of the female body shows both its power and vulnerability. The material itself attests to the fortitude and strength of the women it portrays. Historical weaponry is transformed into armor for our time, or for some dystopian future. Ancient shields take on a modern battle.
Coss presents conflicting ideas and recontextualizes common objects to reveal stereotypical thinking.The grand scale of a ten foot tall pelvic bone upholstered in wedding gowns stuns the audience while luring them in with the intricate delicacy of the gowns. The taboo of purity is juxtaposed with the primal scream of birth. Through these contrasts of materials and ideas Coss compels us to consider the deeper meanings layered in the work.
Mary Coss is an interdisciplinary artist known for her haunting installations that explore the human condition. Born in Detroit and based in Seattle, Coss received her MFA from Syracuse University, Dept. of Experimental Studios.
Recognized through awards and grants by the NEA, Ford and Puffin Foundations, 4Culture, Seattle Arts & Culture and Artist Trust, her numerous public art commissions are found throughout the Northwest.Coss exhibits nationally and in northwest galleries, museums and sculpture parks that include Museum of Northwest Art, Bainbridge and San Juan Museum of Art, The Wing and Webster Sculpture Park. Public Debt to the Suffragette received “Art to Change the World: Inspiring Social Justice” Special Recognition Award from the ACLU at ArtPrize. Critically acclaimed Layers of the Hijab, a three-year social engagement project, received NEA funding. Coss’ Public Art includes commissions and socially engaged practices, project Lead Artist and authorship of Art Plans.
Coss has built international partnerships that include exhibitions, residencies and cultural exchanges in Stockholm, Canada, Ireland, Turkey and Guatemala. Residencies include Willapa Bay, Playa, James Washington Foundation, Cornish Incubator, and Cill Rialaig. She is cofounder of METHOD Gallery, CASA: a rape crisis center that flourishes after 30 years, and Borealis Light Festival.