Mary Mocas (b.1949, New York) is a San Francisco-based visual artist who works across painting, sculpture and mixed media collage, merging painterly sensibilities with tactile accumulations of found objects and materials. She holds a BA from Marietta College (1971) and received her MFA from California College of the Arts in 2016, following a 30-year career as a flight attendant and subsequent founder of a commercial art consultancy. Mocas has exhibited extensively in the Bay Area, including presentations at Southern Exposure, San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art, Gearbox Gallery, Berkeley Art Center and Minnesota Street Project. She is the recipient of the 2021 Left Coast Annual Juried Exhibition Award at Sanchez Art Center, in Pacifica, CA, where she was awarded a solo exhibition in 2022. Mocas is represented in numerous private collections and in the public collection of Visa International.
My artwork, which oscillates intuitively between collage, painting and sculpture, is predicated on the endlessly shifting perspectives that mark our contemporary notions of representation. My own viewpoint is deeply influenced by my decades-long career as a flight attendant, where I witnessed the world from thousands of feet above. Offering an entry point for exchange–one based on feminist concerns and free-floating anxiety regarding both local and global social-political structures–my work upends traditional ideas of aesthetic harmony, alternatively combining fragments of pop culture, subcultures, advertising, and protest with bodily traces and painterly gestures.
Collecting paper scraps from urban environments around the world, I layer torn fragments on various substrates while adding hardedge, poured, sprayed and gestural paint applications. Found objects such as glass shards, plastic road reflectors, surgical detritus, wire, beads, and wood are also amassed and incorporated into the work. The resulting compositions take unconventional forms: paint pours become two-sided hanging paintings that reference the human body, animal hides, and skins, while large, wall-based assemblages exude both two- and three-dimensional elements that often extend to the floor or space beyond the frame.
Acting as vessels, my works are amalgams of messages and perspectives, both personal and public, intimate and collective, that aim to reimagine the expressive potential of flux. Alluding to sky and ground, they emphasize neither, offering space for contemplation of continually evolving perspectives.