Bartlesville, OK, June 2-July 15
Karen Cooper’s dramatic pastels display depth and luminosity unlike anything you’ve seen before in two- dimensional art. All her works are created using soft pastels on black pastel paper, where the subjects are partial images that rely heavily on negative space to convey the composition. The artist describes her work as a process of “revealing images from out of the dark. I believe my black paper is looking for light and color to come alive,” Cooper says. “I love finding the light in the dark.”
More than 20 of these unique works are on display June 2-July 15 in a solo exhibit and sale at the Woolaroc Museum in Bartlesville, OK. An artist’s reception is on June 2 from 2 to 5 p.m. (an RSVP is requested; contact Cooper via her website).
This is Cooper’s first-ever solo museum show. “We decided a few years ago that we wanted to step up the level of exhibits that were showing in our Bunkhouse Gallery,” says Kenneth Meek, director of the Woolaroc Museum. “Inclusion of works by talented artists such as Karen Cooper has enabled us to present high-quality contemporary art which complements the work of the western artists represented in our permanent collections.”
Cooper was just 8 years old when she decided she wanted to “be a famous artist someday.” She pursued her dream throughout her life, taking classes at art schools in Sweden, community colleges, and San Francisco State University. After slowing her artistic pursuits to devote herself to raising her two boys, she decided to relocate to the Southwest and reach for the dream of that 8-year-old once more.
Soon after meeting her husband-to-be in the beautiful red-rock country of Sedona, AZ, the couple headed for New Mexico—a move that proved to be a major stepping-stone in Cooper’s career. She was excited and inspired by her new surroundings: ranches, adobe, cowboys and cowgirls, cattle, horses, cacti, sagebrush, and wide-open spaces. She began painting equines and the action-packed rodeo scenes she is known for today, and the momentum has continued to build.
Her signature style and unique depictions of the Southwest have become recognized in the art community. “I haven’t arrived yet, but I continue to grow with each piece I create,” Cooper says. “My paintings have a piece of my heart in every one of them, and I want people to see that.” —Lindsay Mitchell
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