Margaret Cogswell is a mixed-media installation artist residing in New York. Cogswell has a MFA 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. 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; Kansas City Art Institute; Parsons School of Design in New York and Kanazawa, Japan, and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
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 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 Cleveland, Ohio in response to the imposing presence of volcanic steel mills at the mouth of the Cuyahoga River. Cuyahoga Fugues (2003) became an installation inspired by and incorporating generations of stories reflecting the life and dreams embodied by the Cuyahoga. This led to other commissioned river projects including Hudson Weather Fugues (Wave Hill, NYC 2005); Buffalo River Fugues (Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, Buffalo, NY 2006); River Fugues (Brussels, Belgium; Monaco; Chicago Field Museum 2007-09) and Mississippi River Fugues (Art Museum, Memphis, Tennessee 2008). In progress are Wyoming River Fugues (Art Museum, University of Wyoming 2012), New River Fugues (Virginia) and Mississippi River Fugues (ongoing).