2019 introducing the new edgar modern
text edgar modern
This new collection of paintings, by artist Jessica Cooper rwa, has been created in the past year and developed from a series of notes, film, photography and sketchbook drawings . It charts a period of development and change in the life and work of Cooper. Splitting her time between Los Angeles and Cornwall, the artist has found that she still looks for and is drawn towards the same subject matter in both places ( the interior domestic object and the isolated icon in the landscape ) but that the work itself is becoming more abstracted and the surface medium has changed.
Having worked primarily on canvas for the last 30 years Cooper has shifted to working on a gessoed, wood panel surface. This has been quite a challenge as the surface of the panel is smooth and resistant and doesn’t absorb the paint as the canvas does, but being taken out of her comfort zone she feels that her exploration of paint and mark making has been pushed : a new found freedom is developing – the not knowing what will happen to the surface when you sand or score it. These panel paintings too, have noticeably been left unframed, ‘allowing the work to stand on its own and to breathe without confine’.
The vast expanses of landscape to be found around Los Angeles, in particular the desert and the coast, has prompted a move towards abstraction in Cooper’s work. Metaphorically, she finds that when in these landscapes, the space and clarity that they allow then translates into the paintings as ‘emotion and feeling’ rather than being defined by a recognisable ‘object’.
Never one to disregard the past, whilst moving forward, Cooper shows the framed canvases for which she is known alongside the open, wood panel pieces : this helps us, the viewer, to understand and to make sense of the shift in the work for this show – introducing the new.
This has been a pivotal year for Cooper on many levels. She was selected and featured in March as ‘woman of the month’ by the Hypatia Trust, celebrating women in Cornwall and their achievements www.hypatia-trust.org.uk and in April a film was released based on her practice, as one of Seasalt’s ‘modern creatives‘, meeting Cornwall’s makers, creators and pioneers. www.sealtcornwall.co.uk