Mary Mocas (b.1949, New York) is a San Francisco based visual artist who focuses on the language of painting through mixed media, collage, and gestural mark making. Her work merges painterly sensibilities with tactile 3-dimensional accumulations, bridging the realms between painting and sculpture. She received her BA from Marietta College (1971) and received her MFA (2016) from California College of the Arts.
Mocas has exhibited extensively in the Bay area, including shows at Southern Exposure, San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art, Sanchez Art Center, Gearbox Gallery, Berkeley Art Center and Minnesota Street Project. Mocas is represented in numerous private collections and in the public collection of Visa International.
I am a mixed media artist who utilizes collage, painting and sculpture.
My process begins when I gather peeling and deteriorated wheat pasted paper from urban walls around the world. Using fragments, I begin to accumulate layers of torn narrations while adding hardedge, poured, sprayed and gestural paint applications to various substrates. Found objects such as broken glass, dislocated road reflectors, surgical detritus, wire, beads, and wood are also collected and make their way into the work.
The resulting compositions explore surface and structure, representation and abstraction and play with positive and negative space. More frequently, large paint pours become individual pieces that are hung by metal brackets and chains. These works become much more referential to the human body and relate to animal hides and skins. Importantly, they reveal both sides of a painterly surface and utilize light as an agent of change.
Sculptures also take on the language of accumulation as they are created from 2 dimensional and 3 dimensional personal collections. I am interested in paintings that are sculptural in nature and sculptures that are painterly. Acting as vessels, these works hold an accrual of messages. Whether they are missives from pop culture, subcultures, advertising, political protest, traces of my hand, body, and gesture, all are utilized without reference to hierarchy. These visual amalgams are intimate and collective, micro and macro, and reference body and landscape.
My work offers an alternative entry point and exchange – one that is based on feminist concerns and free-floating anxiety regarding mainstream social structures. Weaving signs and signifiers related to control, subjugation, liberation and revolution, my work is re-imagining, re-imaging and offering space for contemplation of individual and shared identities. The results of my efforts are visually fixed, however, they hold potential for change.