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Jenn Cooper

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Lives in
Chicago, IL

Works in
Chicago, IL


Knox College, 2004, BA Studio Art, Honors in Installation

photography, surrealism, installation, spiritual mixed-media, Altered, conceptual, found-object, sculpture, abstract


My current installation work, its medium and construction, has resulted from focusing on three distinct questions: how can I integrate the art history of native cultures into discussions of contemporary art?; how can I make said work portable with the potential for re-installation in various and varied locations?; and, how can I encourage and sustain viewer interaction with the work?

If one were to trace my family’s bloodlines, they would travel almost entirely around the globe and touch several continents.  I grew up surrounded by the practices of disparate cultures and beliefs, but wasn’t taught their ritual or meaning.  My artistic production has always acted as my source of understanding the unspoken elements that inhabit our lives, whether we realize their presence or not.  In my art historical research, a gravitational pull towards the study of indigenous cultures, their historical artistic production and its use within, and relationship to, society and culture, have been influential in my creative process.  Additionally, spiritual, metamorphic and transcendent philosophies of reality are embodied and given voice within the works of many of these cultures, and it is my desire and attempt to bring some aspect of these varied viewpoints into my objects and resulting installations. 

I desire to widely travel my work; thus, I have started a series of portable installations comprised of common, lightweight, linear materials (such as rope, twine, lace, netting, etc.), which utilizes the support of the surrounding environment as its means of presentation.  Material elements are intertwined.  They are anchored to the walls, floor, and ceiling.  Then, they are pulled, stretched, layered and held in tension.  Lighting plays a huge role in the environment.  Reflective elements within the installation further heighten the interplay within the space; sometimes, small points of light hover and float, while at others, they swarm across these same surfaces.  Shadows are cast in a variety of tones and colors, further blurring the boundary between the material and the ephemeral. 

It is hard to capture the visual attention of a culture driven by iPods, cell phones, and mass media.  It is additionally difficult to cultivate desire within the viewing public to enter into an unfamiliar space, spend time exploring within it, and to then have an open and unique experience.  Presenting drawings, photographs and video depicting and recording my processes in creating the installation, then exhibiting these along with the installation, gives glimpses into the conceptual and experiential aspects of the resulting environment.  It provides a familiar, associative lens which helps bridge the experience of the abstract installation with common concrete experiences of life and art. 

Recent Exhibits

Jenn Cooper participated in these exhibits:

Mar, 2010 New Noyes
Noyes Cultural Arts Center
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