Margaret Cogswell is a mixed-media installation artist residing in New York. Cogswell has a M.F.A. degree in sculpture from Mason Gross School of Art at Rutgers University (1982) and is the recipient of numerous awards including the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship (2009), New York Foundation for the Arts grants (2007,1993) and Pollock-Krasner Foundation grants (1987,1991). Cogswell is a member of Mapping Spectral Traces and an associate member of PLaCE Research Center at the University of Western England Bristol.
Since 2003 the main focus of Cogswell's work is an ongoing project exploring the increasingly politicized role of water. RIVER FUGUES is a series of mixed-media projects utilizing the musical structure of a fugue as a conceptual point of departure in the creation of installations exploring the interdependency of people, industry and rivers in post-industrial regions. Often poignant elegies, these works reflect the complex and changing relationship of a society to its industries and rivers, and strive to be a contributing artistic voice in a larger conversation addressing issues of water.
RIVER FUGUES began in 2003 by exploring the river and steel mills in Cleveland, Ohio while in residence at SPACES Gallery’s World Artists’ Program. Lured by fire, water and the imposing presence of volcanic steel mills at the mouth of the Cuyahoga River, my site-specific response became Cuyahoga Fugues, an installation inspired by and incorporating generations of stories reflecting the life and dreams embodied by the Cuyahoga.
The overwhelming response to Cuyahoga Fugues has led to the creation of Hudson Weather Fugues (exploring the Hudson River in New York, 2005), Buffalo River Fugues (Buffalo, NY 2006), River Fugues (Brussels, Belgium; Monaco; Chicago Field Museum; Hope College, Holland, MI, 2007-09), Hudson River Fugues (Tang Museum, Saratoga Springs, NY, 2009-2010), Mississippi River Fugues (Art Museum University of Memphis, Tennessee 2008), Cuyahoga Fugues Re-Visited (Cleveland, Ohio 2012) and Wyoming River Fugues (Art Museum, University of Wyoming 2012).
Work is in progress on New River Fugues (Virginia) and ongoing with Mississippi River Fugues at other sites along the Mississippi River. A new collaboration is in progress on the Swannanoa River Project through Warren Wilson College in North Carolina.
- Margaret Cogswell - artist website