The Bellevue College Gallery is currently showing Mary Coss’ exhibition, Sound the Siren. This is the first exhibition since June. Coss has been working since early October to create a gallery that draws attention to women’s issues, social justice, gun violence, global warming and the importance of voting.
The pieces she’s made for this collection and the concept had been built up slowly over several years. She first drew inspiration from the idea of sounding an alarm or siren to highlight social justice issues, and then she realized that all of her work could apply to this show. Coss also knew she wanted to showcase her work close to the November election and provide prospective voters with a QR code to help them register to vote.
The title of the exhibition, Sound the Siren, was inspired by the double entendre of the word siren. Siren means both a “very intense” horn siren and “danger.” It also is “a woman being able to seduce someone with her sweet singing and be able to destroy that person.” Coss reflected on the past 10 years and how we “didn’t realize all the things that could change so quickly.” This influenced her decision about the titling of her exhibition, because so many of her pieces reflect modern changes like abortion laws and gun violence. Her work, like the barbed wire dress she has displayed, also showcases the siren’s meaning as a feminine piece that could harm someone.
When viewing the gallery, Coss wants you to have a “visceral reaction and actually feel something in your body.” Having this kind of reaction can turn the moment into an intellectual and emotional moment. She hopes you’ll “rethink something that is presented to [you],” as some of her work “turns items from everyday life into a new context.” Finally, she wants you to “think about what is going on in our culture and ultimately those little ripples can hopefully help create change.”
For more information on Coss and her work, visit her website. The gallery is located in D271, which is up the staircase to the left of the library and left around the corner. The exhibition will be up until Dec. 30. Contact Coss in advance to schedule a viewing.