“Warm snow,” a phrase from Gertrude Stein’s libretto for the opera, Four Saints in Three Acts, composed by Virgil Thomson, provided the organizing principle for Cyrilla Mozenter’s body of work that was featured in the Gillette Gallery in 2014. The exhibition included wall pieces and free-standing constructions that were cut from industrial wool felt and hand stitched together with silk thread. The 3-dimensional works were hollow and free of any armature or extraneous supports or base. The wall pieces were freely hung, banner like, and contained perfectly fitted inlaid shapes, a process akin to marquetry. The images often came to Mozenter through happenstance—a souvenir of an Alaskan polar bear, characters or imagery from literature, opera and legends. Mozenter thinks of snow and felt both as insulators and “quieters” and from this perception came pictogram like images of boots, boats and polar bears. “Boots appeared as an imperative in my mind seemingly out of nowhere, though I had seen and been moved by ancient Chinese burial boots in an exhibition at the time. I associate boots with childhood and when I wear boots I’m more likely to clump around and splash in puddles and generally behave less “etiquette-ly,” as Thelonius Monk would say. Also, when one is on a quest—when one goes adventuring, boots are a necessity. It’s protection against whatever may come up underfoot.”
Cyrilla Mozenter is the recipient of a 2020 John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship. Her solo exhibitions include See Why and the failed utopian, Lesley Heller Gallery, NY; the failed utopian & Other Stories, Five Myles, Brooklyn; warm snow, Adam Baumgold Gallery, NY; More saints seen, The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, CT; and Very well saint, The Drawing Center, NY. She has also received two fellowships from the NY Foundation for the Arts, and two project grants from The Fifth Floor Foundation. She has been in residence at Pianpicollo Selvatico, Dieu Donné Papermill, and Instituto Municipal de Arte e Cultura-Rioarte. Her work is in numerous public collections including the Brooklyn Museum and the Yale University Art Gallery. To learn more about Cyrilla Mozenter, click here.