Alva Mooses (Brooklyn, New York)
Fistful of Dirt
Monoprint with pulverized igneous stone
19” x 25”
In 2013, I traveled to Norway, the Faroe Islands, and Iceland with support from the Yale School of Art’s Robert Schoelkopf Traveling Fellowship. I was collecting stones to create pigment for my printmaking inks and photographing the traditional houses in the region. I was following an early migration path attempting to show that people carry home with them as they migrate and that if one looks closely there are visual signs everywhere that remind us that human migration is nothing new. Beyond the cultural, these investigations are geographical in that the physical environment affects how culture gets produced in different parts of the world.
You Enter Dancing / There’s Always Sign
15” x 20”
The pieces are made with paper pulp casting methods and employ cement cast forms I was making over the past couple of years. The cement casts make reference to the shoe soles manipulated to disguise traces of footprints due to sign cutting, a tracking method employed by the US Border Patrol used to detect any disturbance of the environment left behind by humans, animals, or objects. The paper casts will be a series of paper sculptures to be abstractly considered as a book form and look to issues of human migration in relation to issues of climate crisis and border politics.
I am an artist and educator based in New York City. I create sculptures from geological materials such as volcanic stones, rammed earth, and cast concrete that make reference to lost or potential typographies and topographies, conveying strata of bodies in transformation. My work weaves together my personal and familial experiences of the U.S./Mexico border with cultural references and symbols. For examples, the Virgin San Juan de los Lagos is transformed into a volcano cast in silver, bringing into question the history of colonial interest in precious metals that drove the destruction of silver and gold in pre-Columbian artifacts – many of which were melted down into Catholic paraphernalia. In There’s Always Sign/You Enter Dancing, cement and paper cast forms of sandals represent objects one frequently encounters at the border such as shoes manipulated to disguise traces of footprints. Through my work, I reflect on notions of belonging and mestizaje in American society.
Alva Mooses is a multidisciplinary artist and educator based in New York City. She received her BFA from The Cooper Union and her MFA from Yale University. She has exhibited her work in exhibitions in the U.S., Latin America, and Europe, and has received fellowships and completed residencies at Socrates Sculpture Park in NYC, Center for Book and Paper Arts (CBPA) at Columbia College, The University of Chicago, Tou Trykk in Stavanger, Norway, and Casa Wabi, in Oaxaca, Mexico, among others. Since 2004, she has organized community art initiatives and collaborations in Mexico, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, El Salvador, and Argentina. She is co-founder of LAZO, an artist collective that creates participatory projects and exhibitions bringing together Latinx artists, curators, scholars, and activists. Alva is currently a resident at The Center for Book Arts, The Clemente, and a participant of the 2021 Art & Law Program. She teaches Sculpture at The Cooper Union School of Art. www.alvamooses.com