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International Artist's First US Commission opens at MOCA

MOCA Jacksonville presents its newest Project Atrium installation Maud Cotter: what was never ours to keep. The exhibition is on view July 9 through November 13, 2022. 

An acclaimed artist, both in her homeland Ireland and internationally, Cotter is best known for her sculptural installations. She uses man-made materials such as cardboard, industrial rubber and clear plastic, as well as natural materials like wood to create dynamic sculptures. The artist’s unique aesthetic language manifests an understanding of space that allows her to build highly original and thoughtful relationships between her sculptures, the spaces they occupy, and the viewer.

Her new commissioned work of art for MOCA’s Project Atrium Series, what was never ours to keep, Cotter has responded to the space with an installation that continues her probe into our relationship with matter and the forces that govern this relationship.

 In her own words: “I was very struck by the last line in “Poem that Leaves Behind the Ocean” by Jim Moore, because it speaks of the kind of relationship with matter where we’re guardians of it, and somehow we do not possess it. I felt that particular line, with its very simple linguistic delivery, but the concept behind it is so foundational and also modest. I like to work with intangibles and things that are actually hard to possess. I think a lot of the most cherished values, are those kinds of values. So, we need to begin to respect those, instead of the more quantifiable, packaged, possessive types of things.I think nature presents us with a very gentle vulnerability, and this piece, what was never ours to keep, is an expression of that. The flooding of materials for me is, I suppose, the action of things moving out of coherence. And now is a very important time, in terms of decision making, about the environment and how we live.”

Maud Cotter (b. 1954, Wexford, Ireland) lives and works in Cork, Ireland. Cotter was a co-founder of the Irish National Sculpture Factory in 1989 and has been a member of the venerated Irish Association of Artists Aosdána since 2000. She lectures extensively in Architectural and Art Colleges throughout Europe and America. 

Recent solo exhibitions of her work include a consequence of – a dappled world, curated by Miranda Driscoll for the Irish Arts Center’s inaugural season in New York, 2022; previously exhibited in 2021 at the Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane, Ireland; and a consequence of – without stilling at Limerick City Gallery of Art, Ireland, in 2018. In 2016, she presented 2116: Forecast of the next century at the Lewis Glucksman Gallery, Cork, which toured to the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI.

Maud Cotter: what was never ours to keep was co-curated by MOCA Jacksonville’s Executive Director Caitlín Doherty, and Senior Curator Ylva Rouse, with support from the Irish Art Center, New York. Special thanks to engineer, Kevin Dolan.

This exhibition was sponsored through a grant from Culture Ireland. Additional support was provided by the Irish Arts Center. The Project Atrium series is sponsored by Joan and Preston Haskell, with additional support by Driver, McAfee, Hawthorne & Diebenow, PLLC. Annual support is also provided by the City of Jacksonville, the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville, the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the University of North Florida.