Fellow: Awarded 2009
Field of Study: Fine Arts
Competition: US & Canada
Margaret Cogswell is a mixed-media installation artist born in Memphis, Tennessee, raised in Japan, and now residing in New York City. Ms. Cogswell earned a B.A. degree in English literature at Rhodes College, Memphis, Tennessee, and a M.F.A. degree in sculpture from Mason Gross School of Art at Rutgers University (1982). In addition to the Guggenheim Fellowship, she is the recipient of numerous awards, including two New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowships (2007 and 1993) and two Pollock-Krasner Foundation grants (1987 and 1991).
Since 2003, Ms. Cogswell has been developing an ongoing series of River Fugues projects which have been exhibited internationally. River Fugues are individually unique site-specific installations which utilize the musical structure of a fugue to weave together video and audio components into installations exploring the interdependency of people, industry, and rivers in post-industrial cities.
River Fugues began in 2003 by exploring the river and steel mills in Cleveland, Ohio, while in residence at SPACES World Artists Program. Lured by fire, water, and the imposing presence of the volcanic steel mills at the mouth of the Cuyahoga River, her site-specific response to that research became Cuyahoga Fugues, an encounter with generations of stories reflecting the life and dreams embodied by the Cuyahoga. This experience became the inspiration for creating an expanded body of work, exploring the lives of other rivers.
Other River Fugues include Hudson Weather Fugues created for Wave Hill in the Bronx (2005) and Buffalo River Fugues for Hallwalls, in Buffalo, New York (2006). In 2008 and 2007, sections from Cogswell’s ongoing series of River Fugues installations were exhibited as a part of the exhibition Melting Ice / Hot Topic: Envisioning Change at the Field Museum in Chicago, the Ministry of Culture in Monaco, and the BOZAR Centre for Fine Arts in Brussels, Belgium. In fall 2009, a solo exhibition of River Fugues was presented in the De Pree Art Center in conjunction with the Critical Issues Symposium, At Water's Edge: Complacency, Thirst, Action, at Hope College in Holland, Michigan.
Mississippi River Fugues is the fourth in this series and was created for a solo exhibition at the Art Museum of the University of Memphis, in Tennessee in fall 2008 and is continuing to be developed for presentation in other cities along the Mississippi River in the coming years. In 2009-10, Hudson River Fugues is included in the exhibition Lives of The Hudson at the Tang Museum, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, New York. Among other River Fugues in progress are the New River Fugues in Virginia and Wyoming River Fugues for the Art Museum at the University of Wyoming in Laramie (2012).