Mikhail Kogan

MFA ’23 Fine Arts Low-Residency

As a multidisciplinary mixed media artist working in fiber arts, sculpture, sound, and animation, I explore various aspects of humanity as an organism, or an ecosystem as part of a multifaceted organism. I incorporate organic materials like wool, as well as many discarded and broken items including wires, cables, plastic remnants, and glass to depict various biological elements and counterparts of the human condition. By animating these works and adding sound, I aim to create a microcosm of belonging, where one piece is unable to exist fully without the other. 

Much of the imagery in my work draws on established and hypothesized scientific theory, as well as purely metaphorical precepts. Behind this organic kaleidoscopic lens, I explore a range of subjects, from the culture of identity, to matters of love, hate, and other consumer products. I examine concepts ranging from beauty to the grotesque, as well as the parasitic nature of gods feeding on love and faith. My work also reflects on concepts of the contrary; themes of individuality and equality as well as social assimilation and appropriation. 

Through the hybridization of natural and synthetic elements, the abstract organisms in my work look to the redundancy of life imitating life, synthesis imitating life, and life imitating synthesis. In many cases, these organisms explore human behavior, psychology, and spirituality as something entirely physical in nature.


Mikhail Kogan creates mixed media works incorporating found objects, upcycled materials (garbage) and needle felted pieces to create stop motion animation that examines realities as single organisms while negating the hierarchy of material, organism and technology to observe their reflections and ours in our environments and with one another. Kogan holds an MA from Eastern Illinois University and a BFA from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. His work is part of permanent collections at multiple universities and in private collections.