STILL STANDING: Mark Cooper
24 May 2007 - 23 June 2007
511 GALLERY is pleased to present Still Standing, our third solo-exhibition of sculptures and paintings by Boston-based artist Mark Cooper. This series continues his exploration of the constantly shifting meaning of imagery. As cultures evolve, they often carry forward fragments of the past, reusing and redefining their meaning to suit contemporary society.
Cooper juxtaposes varied images to create an organic unity, using art historical references, aspects of high modernism, pop-culture signifiers, and allusions to biology and nature. This seemingly unrelated combination-in reality-is quite representative of the artist's own world; like most of us, he is constantly bombarded with visual information. By creating this series, Cooper is trying to make sense of our layered culture, provoking the viewer to re-examine the familiar.
In Still Standing #9, Cooper layers kitschy photographs of blurred faces, children playing on the beach, and fireworks. These images give off an air of nostalgia in their supposed familiarity, but by covering them in dripping layers of richly textured paint, Cooper obscures any personal associations the viewer may have. Each piece becomes a rich and detailed story of Cooper's influences and experiences, while evoking questions of the past, present, and future.
Emerging from some of these canvases, are sculptural forms that eventually make their way to the floor or walls as free standing sculptural pieces. Still Standing #19, seems to be collapsing in upon itself, almost giving the impression that one of Cooper's large canvases buckled under its own weight and gave way to this amorphous shape.
The vivid colors of his gestural drips stand in stark contrast to the subdued and sepia tonality of the photograph in Still Standing #8. In these well-balanced compositions, Cooper carefully responds to formal art historical issues such as scale, relationship of colors and volumes. The red spots littered across the surface have tentacles whose shape loosely suggests an Arabic script; layered against a clearly American lake scene, Cooper seems to be commenting on multicultural influences and our transition towards a global society. His work is an acknowledgment of the existence of opposites, allowing us to enjoy the beauty of the mundane in a world filled with war and inequity.