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Posts Tagged ‘Casein Painting’

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“Talking to Afghanistan”, 2013, oil, 30″ x 30″

Ashley Norwood Cooper is an artist I’ve known as a maker of painterly, domestic narratives.  Typically her painting mash up mundane and unsettling imagery using cutaways, shifting perspectives and an enviable bagful of painter’s tricks.  The other day, I saw an announcement for a new body of work, based on her experiences during the time her husband Shelby was deployed to Afghanistan as a U.S. Navy surgeon.  Most of the paintings show Cooper’s own hands, holding an iPad and a few choice glimpses of objects and spaces beyond.  The paintings, in her words, ” are about this correspondence which consumed me for nine months. The contrast between the thick tactility of the oil paintings and slick, temporal nature of digital media, points out how different these two forms of expression actually are. Digital images, with their speed of light convenience, are no replacement for the expressiveness of paint. Likewise, my ‘virtual husband’ was no replacement for the real thing.”  The resulting paintings are an amazing combination of thoughtful, heartfelt and original, with a little of-the-moment cultural relevance thrown in to boot (though I think “thoughtful, heartfelt and original” is the true strength of the series).

I asked Ashley about her work, her family and the resonance between the idea that painter is to her painting as spouse of deployed surgeon is to her iPad.

See the full series of “Deployment” paintings at her website.

Tell us a little about yourself (background, education, etc.):

I grew up in Greenville, SC and attended the University of Georgia. Though I was very involved with art in high school and college, I graduate with a major in Latin. I was a Latin teacher for a little while before attending graduate school at Indiana University, where I got an M.F.A. in painting.  Now I live in a very small town in central New York with my husband, three kids, and too many pets. I paint in a studio behind my house. My paintings are almost always fairly autobiographical.
I have always been interested in drawing, painting and story-telling, these elemental ways that human beings create meaning. I believe that these activities are basic to humanity and that they cannot become outmoded or be replaced by technology.

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