Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Artwork fo the Week!

Week 5:

Wanda Koop (born 1951)
The Mountain
Acrylic on Paper

With over fifty solo exhibitions to her credit, celebrated Winnipeg artist Wanda Koop has shown her paintings and videos for more than three decades across Canada and internationally. In 1998 she founded Art City, a storefront art center that gives youth at risk the opportunity to work with contemporary visual artists. Koop has received numerous awards for her work, including an Honorary Doctor of Letters degree from The University of Winnipeg in 2002.

Koop's paintings often reflect her love of landscape and are usually influenced by her travels. In her art, she develops a visual language of signs and symbols that help her make sense of the work around her. Elements of the land are reduced to bold, iconic forms, as with the painting presented here. Koop is also a prolific artist who works constantly. In developing a series of images, she produces hundreds of small sketches and then builds up medium-sized studies of selected scenes. Finally, she paints the most powerful images that will work on a monumental scale to confront and engage viewers.

Painted outdoors near the Lions Gate Bridge in Vancouver, the Mountain was one of several preliminary works for a 12 foot by 14 foot painting shown in one of Koop's early solo exhibitions at the London Regional Art Gallery. The series from which this painting is derived also shares another characteristic found in many of Koop's works: her need to paint in order to calm her fears and sense of dread. Art critic Robert Enright wrote that this particular series of paintings enabled the artist to neutralize her fear of mountains 'by transforming them into stately, symmetrical objects.' (Enright, 'Thinking Big', 41)

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