Artist Profile - Mary Coss
Mary Coss is a Seattle interdisciplinary visual artist whose haunting projects provide commentary on the human condition. Born in Detroit, Coss received an MFA from Syracuse University, Dept. of Experimental Studios then traveled the country settling in the Northwest where she actively exhibits, curates, and mentors young artists. Coss re-contextualizes common artifacts using abstraction to explore issues of identity, memory, and social justice. She works outside categorical distinction moving fluidly between conceptual and social art practices, installation and traditional sculpture, poetry, and digital media. Coss exhibits extensively through the US, showing at several northwest Museums and internationally. Her Public Art is found in public housing, parks, and schools throughout the Northwest.
Travel is integral to her work, with residencies and cultural exchanges through Eastern and Western Europe and South and Central America. The critically acclaimed Layers of the Hijab, a three-year social engagement project, received financial support from the NEA and the city of Seattle. Recognized through grants from Artist Trust, 4Culture, Ford, and Puffin Foundations, her work “Public Debt to the Suffragette” received the “Art to Change the World: Inspiring Social Justice” Special Recognition Award from the ACLU at ArtPrize. Coss’ community and cultural work includes co-founding a rape crisis center that flourishes after 30 years, a public art program teaching youth employable skills in southeast Seattle, METHOD, an artist-run installation gallery and Seattle’s light festival, Borealis.