Thursday, September 27, 2007

Jim Cogswell

Laser-cut vinyl
(Located on exterior windows along Woodward)

Reading is a visual experience that renders its object invisible. Much of my work of the past decade has been based on an anthropomorphic alphabet: oil paintings, cut paper, photographs, drawings, ceramic tiles, rubber-stamped murals, window-vinyl. The tension between seeing my images and reading them is not easily resolved. It is meant to hold the viewer in place, an invitation to consider the nature of signs and of abstraction, and to thoughtfully experience the act of seeing itself.


Professor of Art, University of Michigan, School of Art & Design
M.F.A. (Painting and Drawing), University of New Mexico, 1982
B.A. (English Literature), Rhodes College, 1971

Born and raised in Japan as the child of missionary parents, Jim Cogswell returned to that country after receiving his undergraduate degree to begin the study and practice of painting. Since that time, his drawings, paintings, prints, and sculptures have been exhibited nationally and internationally.

In 1990, Cogswell joined the School of Art & Design faculty, where his teaching has focused on painting and drawing. During the 1992-93 academic year, he was the Charles P. Brauer Faculty Fellow at the University of Michigan Institute for the Humanities. Throughout his career at U-M, he has received numerous grants from the Office of the Vice-President for Research and the Horace P. Rackham School of Graduate Studies.

Drawn to interdisciplinary projects, Cogswell has collaborated in performance works and installations with dancers, composers, scientists, and poets as well as other visual artists. In 1995, he joined forces with his sister, installation artist Margaret Cogswell, on a site-specific installation at the Nashville Parthenon. Two years later, he worked with dancer Peter Sparling along with biostatistician Fred Bookstein and space physics research scientist John Clarke to create Seven Enigmas, staged at the Power Center for the Performing Arts in Ann Arbor. Other collaborators have included performance artist Mark Anderson and poet Richard Tillinghast. A multimedia performance work entitled The Ariel Web, created in conjunction with Tillinghast, Sparling, Bookstein, and composer Andrew Mead, was performed in March and June 2000 in Ann Arbor. As recipient of the Michigan Arts Award for 1999-2000, he worked with dancer/choreographer Evelyn Velez-Aguayo on a new performance-and-installation work in collaboration with MacArthur-prize-winning composer Bright Sheng.

Cogswell has had solo exhibitions at Florida State University Museum of Art, the Urban Institute for Contemporary Art in Grand Rapids, the Walton Art Center, Purdue University, the Nashville Parthenon, the Krasl Art Center, the Amarillo Art Center, the Frances Wolfson Art Gallery of Miami, the Institute for Contemporary Art in Tallahassee, and the Jacksonville Art Museum. He has lectured at colleges and universities around the country and has been invited to speak on his work at conferences in Japan, Ireland, Hungary, France, and Israel.

Cogswell's work can be found in the public collections of Yasuda Life Company of New York, Mbank of Houston, Barnett Banks of Florida, the Museum of Albuquerque, the City of Tallahassee, the Tamarind Institute, Valencia Community College of Orlando, Florida State University, and the University of Michigan.

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