MY EYE TRAVELS
Postmasters Gallery is pleased to announce a solo exhibition of new works by Diana Cooper opening on January 5, 2013. Cooper is represented by Postmasters since 1999; her last show at the gallery took place in 2008.
Fellow artist Oliver Herring on Diana Cooper: "I learned to love how Diana sees scrappy detail and opportunity in everything and everywhere. If you ever have a chance to take a stroll with her through an urban landscape, do it. You won't look at that blighted lot or that rusty street curb quite the same afterwards." (Artnews, December 2012**)
In the My Eye Travels exhibition, Cooper offers an implausible environment, a transformed place that is never set and never stable. She brings together groups of photographs, photo-collages and spatial hybrid constructions that in an accumulative way convey a disorienting imaginary landscape. The works that incorporate images of sky, water, manmade objects and transitional sites are further de-stabilized by relocated and multiplied "photographic ghosts" from the gallery space itself: outlets, surveillance system, skylights and vents.
In her own words: I am fascinated by the interconnectedness of manmade structures/systems and those found in the natural world. I am increasingly drawn to the sometimes beautiful and sometimes tortured way that nature exists in contemporary environments, whether it be a huge plant stuck inside of a 21st century airport, or vines that resemble a chain link fence, or an abandoned bulldozed lot that unintentionally becomes a garden where weeds grow to the size of trees. My aim is to explore the strangeness of transitional spaces and the wonder they provoke.
I first met Diana Cooper in 1997 when visiting MFA studios at Hunter College. Her studio walls were covered with floor-to-ceiling allover "painting" that took her several months to complete. She engaged in an obsessive day-and-night marking of the walls with sharpie pens creating an abstract, yet very physically present, dense environment. She did not care about its permanence - it was obvious that the room will be repainted for the next student. But for me, the "here today, gone tomorrow" character of Cooper's gesture turned futility into power.
This first impression serves as an apt description of her commitment, vision, and uncompromised, unique way of working that Cooper - a quintessential "artist's artist"- continues to this day.
Over the years she made minuscule drawings on Post-its and monumental immersive installations. For Cooper the outside world is an ever-evolving construction site. She locates unorthodox materials and transforms them: corrugated plastic, astroturf, pompoms, pipe cleaners, foam core, map pins, tape, felt strips, plastic mesh, color filters and more become her building blocks. She does not use existing objects - traditional readymade assemblage - rather, she invents the objects and makes them herself.
Cooper's earlier works were sprawling forms with occasional words or numbers inserted into them. Essentially abstract, they were evocative of systems and circuitry, cause and effect, order and chaos, process and control. Eventually she began taking hundreds of photographs and incorporating them into her installations. In My Eye Travels it is through her framing of the outside world that we enter familiar yet parallel realm. Nobody sees the traffic cones, or recycled garbage, mall escalators, construction barriers, and jet way tunnels the way Cooper sees them. Nobody sees the rows of empty chairs at Daytona racetrack the way she does. Diana Cooper is an obsessive "maker" of earthly revelations, an artist determined to bring her playful but sure-handed vision out.
Special thanks are extended to two institutions that provided assistance and facilities to produce many of the works in the exhibition:
School of Art and Design NYSCC and the Institute of Electronic Arts at Alfred University (Alfred, NY)
School of Visual Arts at Virginia Tech (Blacksburg, VA).
*My Eye Travels - the title of this exhibition is taken from one of Diana Cooper's well known works from 2002 that, along with many others, was destroyed in the flood in her storage during Hurricane Sandy. It is a fitting personal memorial to a beautiful artwork that no longer exists.