"By including, and even encouraging, accidents in her process, by emphasizing the inherent characteristics of her tools and medium, even as she pushes them to their limits, Cottrell suggests that she is searching for a resolution—between body and machine, nature and technology, mind and body—that may never be found. Instead, she gives form to the search itself."
- Rachel Federman, Associate Curator of Modern and Contemporary Drawings at The Morgan Library & Museum
Marsha Cottrell was born in 1964 and lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. Cottrell received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1988 from Tyler School of Art, Temple University, Elkins Park, PA. She then received a Masters of Fine Art degree in 1990 from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, NC. Marsha Cottrell is a recipient of the 2019 Anonymous Was A Woman Award; the 2013 Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation, Biennial Award; the 2007 Pollock-Krasner Foundation, Fellowship Grant in Drawing; the 2004 Harvestworks Digital Media Arts Center, Educational Grant; the 2003 New York Foundation for the Arts, Fellowship Grant in Drawing; the 2001 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, Fellowship; the 1999 New York Foundation for the Arts, Fellowship Grant in Digital Arts; and the 1999 Marie Walsh Sharpe Art Foundation, Space Program.
Marsha Cottrell’s monochrome abstractions transcend the quotidian office computer and printer used in their making. In playful exchange with her chosen medium, the artist nudges mathematically defined lines and shapes grabbed from the software’s tool palette across the field of the screen, registering the intangible information in multiple passes of carbon-based toner using a laser printer as one might a paintbrush.
There is no corresponding digital file for each unique image; instead, the paper is the canvas onto which each decision is materially preserved. Translucent layers of ultra-fine dust are fused with heat and pressure, interacting with the subtle coarse texture of each handmade sheet to create rich, tactile surfaces. Cottrell’s inventive process embraces—and runs in opposition to—an analytical working environment originally designed to speed productivity and increase the volume of output. Schematic vector information gives way to space and light, resuscitating the corporeal.
Cottrell has had solo exhibitions at Anthony Meier Fine Arts, San Francisco, CA; Contemporary Art Museum of Raleigh, Raleigh, NC; Derek Eller Gallery, New York, NY; Eleven Rivington, New York, NY; g-module, Paris, France; Gaga, New York, NY; Henry Urbach Architecture, New York, NY; Petra Rinck Galerie, Dusseldorf, Germany; Revolution Gallery, Detroit, MI; Site Galerie, Dusseldorf, Germany and Van Doren Waxter, New York, NY.
Recent group exhibitions include The Way We Are 3.0, Weserburg Museum of Modern Art, Bremen, Germany, 2021; Together In the Round, Presented by Anthony Meier Fine Arts & Jessica Silverman Gallery at 1969 California St, San Francisco, CA, 2020; By Any Means: Modern and Contemporary Drawings from the Morgan, The Morgan Library and Museum, New York, NY, 2019; Worlding: Lucas Blalock, Marsha Cottrell, Ben Hagari, Ajay Kurian, and Hayal Pozanti, Organized by Mia Curran, University of Western Michigan, 2017; The Actual, Eleven Rivington, New York, NY, 2014; schwartz // weiß, Hamish Morrison Galerie, Berlin, Germany, 2013; Flowery, Petra Rinck Galerie, Dusseldorf, Germany, 2013; One-Third White, Kunst im Tunnel (KIT), Dusseldorf, Germany, 2013 and Field Conditions, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA, 2012.
Selected public and corporate collections include The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL; Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, TX; Francis Yang Tang Museum, Saratoga Springs, NY; Grafische Sammlung, Museum Kunstpalast, Dusseldorf, Germany; The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; The Morgan Library and Museum, New York, NY; The National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Neuberger Berman LLC, New York, NY; The North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, NC; Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA; Pfizer Inc., New York, NY; Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA; Pollock Gallery, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX; Progressive Corporation; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA; and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP.