In an increasingly virtual world, what makes a work of art authentic? For some, art is about abstraction, for others, it’s about concept. Some look at the history of painting as something to mimic, others as something to deconstruct. Ashley Norwood Cooper’s art stays focused on her own 21st century reality while never loosing sight of the history of painting and how that history tints the way we see ourselves and our world.
By turning her eye to middle class domestic life, a subject that is often taboo in the contemporary art world, Ms. Cooper makes paintings that are both deeply personal and wholly unique. Constantly referencing art history, she reminds us of what we have in common with people who went before us and of how we are different. How do domestic subjects look different under a feminine gaze? Is our world today lit by the cold, distracting light of computer screens? How does our focus on virtual relationships effect the way we interact with the real people sitting next to us?
Ashley Norwood Cooper’s choice of medium is powerfully intentional. No material translates the psychological world into the visual one with quite the sensitivity and immediacy of oil paint. Ms. Cooper’s well informed hand is always sophisticated but never refined. Her work is not naive about the irony and distraction of our age but bravely refuses to be enslaved to it. These are the paintings of an artist who has the courage to be herself with every brush-stroke.