32 HOURS: Mark Cooper
03 March 2005 - 16 April 2005
Mark Cooper's second solo exhibition at 511 GALLERY, 32 Hours, is influenced by a recent trip to Bali (the title refers to the length of time it took to get there). The sculptures and wall hangings are large-scale and rich in imagery. The fiberglass pieces, layered with rice paper, paint, silk-screens, and varying images and patterns, explore dualities of culture and meaning, reflecting the Hindu tradition of paying tribute to dualities-including the worship of both good and evil deities. The work also represents the dualities found within modern Bali: high and low economies, the abundance of indigenous artifacts and art vs. new multi-cultural influence, and modern technology's clash with primitive traditions.
Cooper's exploration of viewing culture through a visual language continues in this new work, which places western imagery next to eastern imagery, coexisting so as to re-contextualize familiar images and meanings. Each piece becomes a rich and detailed story of the artist's influences and experiences, which coexist in such a way that a new story of world culture is created. Images familiar from Western cultures are found next to Taoist, Confucius, Buddhist, and Shinto imagery. We see images of a Rembrandt in between images of chicken baskets and bamboo. How does this change our view or understanding of the Rembrandt, or of the baskets?
These epic-collage sculptures are about transition: the artist's transitions in and out of familiar worlds; the world's transition towards a global society; and independent cultures' transitions with new multicultural influences. There are modern and historical references that intermingle with cultural references. The collage sculptures are then painted and dripped upon by Cooper, furthering their own transition from being a series of references to a rich sculpture that tells a detailed story in a new and different way. If art reflects the social structure of time and place, surely these works reflect a global community with varied interests, goals, and influences.