AP ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: MARY COWSER
I have tried many different visual arts at ESD and discovered that Sculpture is my passion. In Sculpture, I am not restricted to clay or canvas, and that freedom has allowed me to express my creativity to its full potential.
巻き寿司 (maki sushi) was the start of my obsession with small objects because when I saw that toilet paper roll, I knew it was going to be a sushi roll. From hot glue caviar to cactus pad tempura, Sculpture was probably the most fun and exploratory art I created. With White Noise, I wanted to focus on blending the natural and unnatural. I contrasted the machinery from an old lego bot with the natural forms of bamboo shoots and river rocks. It represents how nature will eventually reclaim the Earth when humanity goes extinct, and the Buddha represents the peace that it will bring. 中國園林 (zhōngguó yuánlín) has a similar message but focuses on the way that man harmonizes with nature and cultivates it into beautiful gardens. I tried to contrast the green moss and tinfoil shapes, the glass shards and green seed pods, the rice with the plastic rose. It is the ideal way man should interact with nature, appreciating and propagating it instead of destroying it.
I challenged myself to plan out my AP piece thoroughly before I started work. I filled my sketchbook with concepts and ideas but eventually settled on a six-part hanging sculpture that would be modeled after a Japanese netsuke concept. Specifically, telling a story through a small, compact sculpture. But instead of researching Japanese stories, I decided to focus on Chinese mythology to connect myself back to my ethnic heritage. I chose my favorite tales, took the essential objects or concepts, and condensed them into singular sculptures. It was a journey through laser cutters, silicone molds, pressure pots, and many more new techniques. It was my most complicated composition by far, and seeing it all come together was a big inspiration to me. I synthesized many of the concepts and techniques I used in previous sculptures to create something representing my artistic style while also being something completely new and refined.
I have thoroughly enjoyed Sculpture at ESD and plan to continue my passion into college. I cannot think of a better catharsis for my creativity.
Mary has supreme mastery over the miniature. Her netsuke utilize modern materials and experimental techniques to reimagine Chinese mythology in a format that demands prolonged attention.
- Dane Larsen, AP Sculpture Teacher