Mara Cressey is a Missouri-based artist with a BFA in Figurative Studies from Fontbonne University in St. Louis. She is a current MFA in Visual Studies candidate at Missouri State University in Springfield. Mara works mainly in oil paint, combining a childhood tendency to create characters with conceptual ideas relating to the expression of unfiltered, authentic thoughts. Recent exhibitions, both online and across Missouri, include The Figure (2021) juried by Victor Wang, Dreamlife (2021) juried by Robin Hirsch-Steinhoff of Art Saint Louis, and a solo exhibition hosted by The In Art Gallery titled Things I Wish I Could Say but Sometimes I am Afraid (2022).  

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Artist Statement

I sometimes find myself riddled with unexpected anxiety and regret in social situations; I overthink the interactions that occur, wish I had come across as more clever or articulate, and wonder if I’ve said something that might affect others’ opinions of me. In my practice, I create a space for and display a less awkward, more assured version of myself; one that is accurate and true but seldom at the surface. In doing this, I am constructing an alter ego that emerges at unforeseen times and manifests itself permanently within my work. I compose pieces in which honest, “stream of consciousness” thoughts, actions, and ideas can be freely yet consciously exhibited through oil painting and writing. My work is mindfully confrontational; a genuine and all-encompassing reflection of the self.