Jonathan LeVine Gallery is pleased to announce Mangle, new drawings and paintings of twisted ladies, an exhibition of works by Ottawa-based artist Dave Cooper, in what will be his second solo show at the gallery.
In Mangle, Cooper presents a new series of graphite drawings on polypropylene paper and oil paintings on canvas, featuring his subject matter of choice—fleshy females. Cooper’s unique aesthetic is informed by his obsession with creating billowy, gelatinous landscapes and stylized women with un-idealized physical appearances. The shapes of these nude or scantily clad figures are often exaggeratedly lumpy, with large heads, bulging eyes, shiny red cheeks and toothy grins. They interact with one another in ways that appear disturbingly violent, suggestively sensual, or both, implying bizarre narratives of perverse scenarios and intense human drama.
Through the challenging, disturbing quality of his imagery, Cooper continues to explore themes of libido, hedonism, body image, fantasy, and ambiguity with refined skill and technique. His process consists of building thin layers of sheer color and fine glaze to create smooth texture and translucent opulence to the round contours of his full-figured subjects and their surrounding environments. By applying details traditionally regarded as undesirable physical characteristics such as veiny skin, ruddy complexion and cellulite to every plump, dimpled fold of flab, Cooper’s paintings expose the artist’s admiration and fascination with the natural curves of the feminine form in zaftig proportions, beyond conventional health or beauty standards.
In the artist’s words: “A red rose is beautiful but how ubiquitous! I’d rather look in a dark corner for interesting patches of moss, lichen or mushrooms. Fashion models are utterly boring. Instead, my heart races at the sight of an awkward-looking girl with unique flaws and imperfections.”
Dave Cooper was born in 1967 in a small fishing village in Nova Scotia, Canada. He is currently based in Ottawa, with his wife and two children. Cooper is a self-taught artist, inspired by artistic mentors in his youth. He enjoyed a successful career in the American underground comic scene of the late 1990’s as the author/illustrator of award-winning graphic novels and as a designer, producer, and creator in the field of animation. In 2003, the artist decided to focus his energies on oil painting and refining his fine art. In the years since, his artwork has been exhibited at galleries in New York, Los Angeles and Paris. He has released two books featuring his oil paintings and a third is on the way, with introductions written by Hollywood celebrity collectors including comedic actor David Cross, as well as filmmakers David Cronenberg and Oscar-nominated writer/director of Pan’s Labyrinth, Guillermo del Toro.