Barbara Cooper - Art & Wall Decor and Public Art
Barbara Cooper
Barbara Cooper

Barbara Cooper

Chicago, IL

“Barbara Cooper works fluidly between sculpture and drawing. Bellevue Arts Museum, Washington, presented an extensive solo exhibition, accompanied by a 32-page color catalogue. Other solo shows include the Gerald Peters Gallery in Santa Fe, the Chicago Cultural Center, Fassbender Gallery in Chicago, the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, and the Hafnarborg Institute of Culture and Fine Art, in Iceland.

She has been an invited artist at Pilchuck, and the Kohler Arts / Industry Program, and the Johnson Atelier. Yaddo, Macdowell, Ragdale, Blue Mountain Center, Montalvo, and the Camargo Foundation in France, are among the many residencies she has held.

Her work is in the collections of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, the Cranbrook Museum of Art, Smithsonian Museum of American Art, and the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Wisconsin, among others.

Cooper recently completed public art commissions for the Avalon Library in Chicago and the Chicago Transit Administration, and the Rhode Island Airport in Providence. A Chicago resident, Cooper has received three Illinois Arts Council Fellowships.”
Q&A

What is your favorite material to work with?

"I’ve been working with discarded pieces of wood veneer scavenged from woodworking factories for over twenty years. I’m working with a material that grew as a tree, was cut down, put through an industrial process to be used as veneer for the furniture industry, and what is left over becomes trash. I am taking industrial waste and putting it back into organic form. Over the years, I have found many different ways of using it or combining it with other materials, depending on the scale of the work and where it is going."
-- Barbara Cooper
Q&A

What do you want people to do or feel when they encounter your creations?

"I hope to engage people with their senses and to use those sensibilities to take a deeper look at the world of nature. Our own bodies are a microcosm of the patterns and structures that appear in nature which is what supports and sustains us. Tuning into the cycles and means of sustaining an environment provides us with a model for how to live in the world."
-- Barbara Cooper
Q&A

What motivates and inspires you?

"This quote from the poet Mary Oliver: “Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift.”"
-- Barbara Cooper
Q&A

What makes a space special?

"As a sculptor, I think about what influences us as we move through a space and how different spaces make us feel whether expansive or confined, intimate or lost. Scale and material qualities has a lot to do with this. My job is to get someone to move and explore a space, whether it is around a sculpture to observe how it changes from each perspective, or through a large space, on a public art scale."
-- Barbara Cooper
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