MSAC Individual Artist Award (IAA)2017, Prior to 2012
Artist StatementAs an artist who is captivated by the everyday, my focus often narrows to the smallest of cracks on the sidewalk and the faintest of shadows on the wall. In ¬The Poetics of Space Gaston Bachelard submits, “The man with the magnifying glass-quite simply- bars the everyday world. He is a fresh eye before a new object”. Using contextually dependent installation I question where the liminal state exists between what is noticed and what is overlooked. I employ drawing as a strategy to investigate the influence of visual information on a viewer’s subjective perception of object and place. I work outside the traditional notion of drawing, nominating rather than rendering a variable framework of information. Traditionally drawing is considered to be a two-dimensional representation of the three-dimensional. Most often it is a depiction that is once removed from the experience of the object or place it describes. What if drawing was liberated from its conventional role of descriptor and instead was employed as a strategy whose tactics might include nomination, illustration, and notation and a strategy where materials could move beyond the standard mark makers and paper. Within this context, two dimensions would no longer be the boundary that defines drawing. The resulting installations are contextually dependent and ask the viewer to engage as participant rather than observer. My interest in audience as contributor leads me to question the hierarchy of the art object. Is it possible to create work where meaning is not contained within the object, but rather the object aims to create a heuristic state of affairs; asking the viewer to complete the piece?
Leah Cooper is a Baltimore artist who is captivated by the everyday. Her focus often narrows to the smallest of cracks on the sidewalk and the faintest of shadows on the wall. Using contextually dependent installation she explores an expanded notion of drawing that questions where the liminal state exists between what is noticed and what is overlooked. She is an avid observer, a determined thinker, a purposeful maker, and an artist who designates a piece successful when it has generated more questions, rather than illustrated a single answer.
Leah received her MFA from Maryland Institute College of Art in 2009, where she was awarded the MFA in Studio Art Fellowship. She completed her BA in Studio Art from the University of Maryland, College Park in 1989. Since 1989 she has lived and worked in Baltimore, Maryland. Leah was a 2010 Sondheim Finalist, a 2011 recipient of a Maryland State Art Council Individual Artist Grant, and a 2012 Sondheim Semifinalist. She has shown in The Baltimore Museum of Art, The Stamp Gallery at the University of Maryland, Arlington Art Center, Montpellier Arts Center, and RTKL Architecture Firm.