Mikey Mosher

Artist Profile

Mikey Mosher

Born in Falmouth, MA; based in Chicago, IL

A collector of knickknacks and magazine clippings, Mikey Mosher makes mixed-media collages and wall sculptures that display American contradictions and detachments. Raised in coastal Massachusetts, Mosher took note of the faith-based historical events that occurred in and shaped New England—inspiring him to pursue comparative religious studies before continuing his advanced training in art. His practice exposes the tangles of religion, capitalism, and systems of power while tendering cathartic avenues for play and physicality.

Mosher stockpiles source material ranging from pieces of sea glass, feathers, plastic pigs, shells, fake hands, and dominos to pictures of fingerprints, houses on fire, bird fountains, dice, pennies, and the earth. He arranges such imagery and items either within hand-cut collages in constructed frames or wood armatures that he sands, lasercuts, and paints. Crafting each highly detailed work is laborious. In both his process and output, Mosher prioritizes touch as a means of alleviating societal alienation and digital disembodiment.

Mosher’s wall works recall relics and altarpieces on the one hand, and cabinets of curiosities and childhood toys on the other. Each art object holds the viewer’s attention and provokes a visceral, emotional response. With his oeuvre, Mosher addresses the “pervasive loss of tactility in American culture” while probing the discrepancies and consistencies between spirituality, indoctrination, idolatry, and consumerism.

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    Mosher garnered an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago following a BA in Religious Studies from Hampshire College. The artist has presented solo exhibitions at The Martin, Chicago, IL (2023); Compound Yellow, Oak Park, IL (2023); and the Epiphany Center for the Arts, Chicago, IL (2022), among others. In 2023, Mosher was awarded an Individual Artists Program Grant from Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. His work is found in the public collections of Indiana University, Bloomington, IN; Kent State University, OH; and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, IL. 

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    Artist Statement

    My practice attempts to engage with the tension between themes of spirituality, political turmoil, climate change, alienation, nostalgia, and play through the process of collecting, curating, arranging, designing, and building. Beginning with a focus on collage, my practice has expanded out into a variety of mediums including photography, sculpture, projection, design, and digital fabrication.

    My most recent work explores the relationship between the frame and the work, the container and the object, the box and the trinket. Reflecting on the tradition of reliquaries in the Catholic tradition, I began exploring digital fabrication as a method of creating elaborate housings for collected objects, collaged images, and disparate materials like mesh cloth and metal grids. This attention to the frame or container became a practice of its own, allowing me to play with the hierarchy between the two. What if the frame came before the artwork? What if the contained thing was responding to its container? It’s like building a playground and then playing in it.

    This interest in play also has a lot to do with labor and fostering a healthy relationship with it. In a capitalist society, it’s difficult to come upon a relationship with labor that isn’t deeply alienating. Much of my practice revolves around the idea that having a physical, tactile, and immediate relationship with labor and the fruits of it is a rare and special opportunity. To borrow from German psychologist and theorist of play, Karl Groos, it’s “the pleasure at being the cause” that is the basis of play, the simple, but increasingly rare joy of feeling that your actions are having a measurable impact on the world around you.