Anne-Marie Cosgrove: Navigating Layers and Language in Art

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Born in Montréal, Anne-Marie Cosgrove is a visual artist known for her distinctive fusion of layering techniques and an all-encompassing approach to mark-making. Her works stand as a testament to a diverse range of influences, drawing inspiration from pop art, minimalism, and the raw energy of graffiti and text-based street art.

With an international presence, Cosgrove has showcased her works in solo exhibitions and projects across major cities like Montréal, Toronto, New York, Washington, Miami, Seattle, Venice, Madrid, and Barreiro (Lisbon). The accolades she has received, including recognition from the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council, speak volumes about the impact and quality of her artistic endeavors. Reviews in prominent publications like Vanguard, Matriart: A Canadian Feminist Art Journal, ArtWord: Artists Forum, Artcentron, ArtFuse, and ArtsObserver.

One of Cosgrove’s notable works is titled “ALL SMILES (for DANTE ALIGHIERI), 2023,” a piece hand-drawn with fingers on an iPad. The dimensions of the work are variable and site-specific, adding an extra layer of dynamism to the viewing experience. This particular series is part of an ongoing visual experiment where Cosgrove employs her fingers on an iPad, deliberately limiting herself to selected tools for drawing. The result is a conversation about painting in the digital age, a dialogue between tradition and innovation.

Cosgrove’s artistic journey, as reflected in “ALL SMILES,” draws inspiration from her previous series, including “SANCTUARY (2022)” and “AFTERNOON IN A CANDY STORE (2021).” In this latest exploration, the artist finds a contemporary lens through which to interpret Dante Alighieri’s “The Divine Comedy.” The visual and literary associations embedded in the desire for corporeality, both of the medium (digital) and the subject (bliss), create a nuanced narrative within the artwork. The pieces in “ALL SMILES” can be interpreted as a quest “toward the bliss supreme,” echoing a profound exploration of the human soul.

Cosgrove’s artistic evolution becomes evident as she draws parallels between “ALL SMILES” and her earlier series, such as “CHARACTER LINES (1990s).” The latter focused on the passage of time, with large-scale paintings exploring the lines on her face as she aged. This introspective connection adds a layer of personal history to “ALL SMILES,” creating a rich tapestry that weaves together the threads of experience and artistic expression.

Cosgrove invites viewers to engage with her work on multiple levels. The deliberate choice of limited tools for the digital drawing series highlights the artist’s commitment to exploring the essence of painting in a rapidly evolving technological landscape. The echoes of past series within “ALL SMILES” emphasize the cyclical nature of artistic inspiration and the enduring themes that persist across different phases of an artist’s career.

Anne-Marie Cosgrove’s ability to seamlessly blend diverse influences, coupled with her thoughtful exploration of the digital medium. Her works serve as a bridge between traditional and modern, inviting viewers to reflect not only on the visual elements but also on the deeper narratives and connections that resonate within each piece.

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