DECEMBER 11, 2019 - JANUARY 26, 2020


mh RESIDENCY is a studio residency program of mh PROJECT which aims to support artists and curators developing new projects. The residency provides a workspace, offers opportunities to present work through open studios and events, and helps the residents expand their networks.

mh RESIDENCY’s sixth artist-in-residence, December 11, 2019 – JANUARY 26, 2020 is an American artist, Margaret Cogswell, was born in Memphis, Tennessee, and raised in Japan where she lived until she was 13 years old, and currently lives and works in NYC.

Margaret Cogswell begins her residency with a mixed-media installation titled Views from a Puddle.  This new installation will combine video and drawings along with text from a poem by artist/poet, JoAnne McFarland, that was selected in response to Cogswell’s videos.

Cogswell’s videos were shot while in residence this past summer at Mountain Lake Biological Station in Virginia.   In an effort to engage with the world that the biologists and botanists in residence were researching Cogswell used a small GoPro camera to shoot footage underwater and along paths while hiking through the forests.

One day, during a summer rain, she put the camera in a puddle in a recessed spot in one of the boulders around the cottage she was staying in—with no expectations other than to see what the camera might see and hear.  It turned out to be beautiful and simple. The different rhythms of the rain falling from the leaves of the trees, the eaves of the cabin, and the unimpeded rain together made a percussive composition. The rain drops also alternatively obscured the image as they sometimes clung to the camera lens, then cleared.  These observations led to a realization of how our view of the world is impacted and determined by where we are standing—literally and figuratively.

About collaborating with artist Margaret Cogswell on Views from a Puddle, JoAnne McFarland writes: I see and hear in the prismatic syncopation of Margaret's videos a kind of code—if only we would listen, if only we had courage to act on the most urgent issue we face—climate change: raging fires, extreme drought, torrential rains. My poem, My Broken French, deals with rains of many kinds: longing, grief, resignation, and probes the psyche from different angles, just as Margaret offers views of the world from a puddle. The scroll that carries the opening stanzas of My Broken French, in French/English couplets soaked with passion, complements Margaret's delicately wrought earth–toned drawings. The remaining six stanzas are 'drops' on rectangular placards that hover above the ground–level video projections.

Margaret Cogswell is a mixed-media installation artist residing in New York and a recipient of numerous awards including the John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship (2009), Pollock-Krasner Foundation (2017-18; 1987,1991), New York Foundation for the Arts (2007,1993); and Foundation for Contemporary Arts Emergency Grant (2014).

Cogswell was born in Memphis, Tennessee, and raised in Japan where she lived until she was 13 years old.  She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in English literature from Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee.  In 1982 she received a Master in Fine Arts degree in sculpture from Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

Since 2003, the main focus of Cogswell's work is an ongoing series of RIVER FUGUES projects that explore the increasingly politicized role of water. RIVER FUGUES is a series of individually unique site-specific installations which utilize the musical structure of a fugue to weave together sculpture, video, sound and drawing components into site-specific installations which explore the interdependency of people, industry and rivers in post-industrial cities. RIVER FUGUES began in Cleveland, Ohio in 2002 with Cuyahoga Fugues, a mixed-media installation inspired by and incorporating generations of stories reflecting the life and dreams embodied by the Cuyahoga River.

RIVER FUGUES projects have since been commissioned by museums and art centers for exhibitions nationally and internationallySome of these exhibitions include: Soundings: Margaret Cogswell and Ellen Driscoll at Kentler International Drawing Space, Brooklyn, NY (2-person, 2015); Water Soundings, Zendai Zhujiajiao Art Museum, China (solo 2014); Moving the Water(s): Ashokan Fugues and Wyoming River Fugues at CUE Art Foundation, NYC  (solo 2014);  Wyoming River Fugues at the Art Museum, University of Wyoming, Laramie (solo 2012); Mississippi River Fugues, Art Museum, University of Memphis, Tennessee (solo 2008);  Hudson River Fugues at Tang Museum, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY, (group 2009-2010); River Fugues at BOZAR Centre for Fine Arts, Brussels, Belgium, Monaco Ministry of Culture and Chicago Field Museum (traveling group exhibition, 2007-09); Buffalo River Fugues at Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, Buffalo, NY (solo 2006); Hudson Weather Fugues at Wave Hill, NYC (group 2005), and Cuyahoga Fugues at SPACES Gallery, Cleveland, Ohio (solo 2012 and 2003).

Cogswell's professional career has also included teaching studio art at Purchase College School of Art and Design of the State University of New York; Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, Rhode Island; Kansas City Art Institute, Missouri; Parsons School of Design in New York and Kanazawa, Japan; the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Middlebury College, Vermont; The College of Atlantic in Bar Harbor, Maine and the University of Hawaii-at-Manoa, Honolulu.   

From 1999-2011, Cogswell was Program Officer for the Visual Arts with the Asian Cultural Council in New York City.

JoAnne McFarland is the Artistic Director of Artpoetica Project Space in Gowanus, Brooklyn that explores the intersection of words, visual art, performance, and installation. She is the former Exhibitions Director of A.I.R. Gallery. Her numerous solo and group exhibitions include: Mending, 440 Gallery Brooklyn, NY with artist Nancy Lunsford, Both Directions at Once at KALA Art Institute in Berkeley, CA, and The Black Artist as Activist at Brooklyn's Corridor Gallery. McFarland’s artwork is part of the public collections of the Library of Congress, the Columbus Museum of Art, and Dynegy Inc. among others. Her poetry books include: Said I Meant/Meant I Said, a collaboration with poet Paul Eprile, Identifying the Body, and 13 Ways of Looking at a Black Girl. In her work McFarland treats violence and creativity as diametrically opposed: each act of making thwarts violence’s aim to destroy.