Nature is always my place to begin. I am drawn to how forms respond to the stresses they withstand and the obstacles they confront. Starting with observations of specific phenomena, I abstract the parallels I find in processes as diverse as the surge of lava, the creep of a glacier, the flow of water, or the growth of a tree.
My focus is on how a form records its growth process of evolving from one condition to another as it responds to its environment. This process of transformation, whether in the natural environment or in the realm of the cultural or the personal, is an essential aspect of life. It is the foundation upon which my work builds.
I am working with a material that began as a living tree, was cut down, went through an industrial process to become veneer, and then became scrap material in a factory. I am completing the cycle by returning it to organic form. Embedded within this process is the inherent conflict between the natural and the industrial, what is grown versus what is made. These three pieces in particular address the violation and transgression of those boundaries and edges; the dichotomy between what is containing and what is being contained.
These three pieces will be installed as a unit at Perimeter Gallery, 210 West Superior Street in Chicago from January 6th through February 4th, 2012. http://perimetergallery.com, http://www.barbaracooperartist.com
Barbara Cooper works fluidly between sculpture and drawing. Solo shows include Bellevue Arts Museum in Washington, the Gerald Peters Gallery in Santa Fe, the Chicago Cultural Center, Fassbender Gallery in Chicago, the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, and the Hafnarborg Institute of Culture and Fine Art, in Iceland.
She has been an invited artist at Pilchuck, and the Kohler Arts / Industry Program, and the Johnson Atelier. Yaddo, Macdowell, Ragdale, Blue Mountain Center, Montalvo, and the Camargo Foundation in France, are among the many residencies she has held.
Her work is in the collections of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, the Cranbrook Museum of Art, Smithsonian Museum of American Art, and the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Wisconsin, among others.
Cooper recently completed public art commissions for the Avalon Library in Chicago and the Chicago Transit Administration, and the Rhode Island Airport in Providence. A Chicago resident, Cooper has received three Illinois Arts Council Fellowships.