While employed as a magazine freelancer in the 1990s, Marsha Cottrell established her innovative use of an office computer and electrostatic laser printer, maneuvering the prosaic apparatus to function like a drawing tool—a direct extension of body and mind. Vector-based information found in the software tool palette is printed in layers of carbon-based toner onto sheets of handmade paper, resulting in a body of work that traverses drawing and printmaking, painting and photography. Stillness occupies the space between viewer and image in Cottrell’s recent series made using an archival pigment printer. The subtle materiality of the work—in which transparent digital color is layered onto rectangular areas of ground applied by hand within larger sheets of Mitsumata paper—belies its virtual origins. Irregularities in the paper itself, including wide, sweeping strokes that bear evidence of the paper making process, surround the subtly-dimensional fields of color.
Marsha Cottrell was born in 1964 in Philadelphia, PA, educated at Tyler School of Art (BFA) and UNC Chapel Hill (MFA), and currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. Cottrell’s solo exhibitions include Anthony Meier Fine Arts, San Francisco (2016); Eleven Rivington/Van Doren Waxter, NY (2022, 2018, 2015); Petra Rinck Galerie, Dusseldorf (2017, 2012); Henry Urbach Architecture, NY (2003); Derek Eller, NY (1998). Group exhibitions include Blanton Museum of Art, TX (2023); The Morgan Library and Museum, NY (2019); Wexner Center for the Arts, OH (2017); and SFMOMA, CA (2012). Cottrell has received fellowships and grants from Anonymous Was A Woman; The Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation; Pollock-Krasner Foundation; New York Foundation for the Arts; and John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. Her work is included in the collections of The Art Institute of Chicago, IL; Blanton Museum of Art,The University of Texas at Austin,TX; Museum Kunstpalast, Dusseldorf; The Morgan Library & Museum, NY; The Museum of Modern Art, NY; National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; North Carolina Museum of Art, NC; Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA; Philadelphia Museum of Art, PA; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA; and Francis Young Tang Teaching Museum at Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY.