PAC Gallery’s newly opened Cincinnati, USA: Before Meets After, a solo exhibition of Courttney Cooper’s drawings, continues its recent interest in ambitious projects by artists without formal training.
As I’ve written in these pages previously, I don’t believe the merit of these artists’ work is found in the discussion of their differences from “mainstream” art. In Cooper’s case, his large-scale, meticulously scribbled aerial views of Cincinnati bring together memory and imagination and allow versions of the city past to blur with the present.
Cooper, 38, is a Cincinnati native who has exhibited near and far in museums, galleries and various folk-art festivals around the country. He’s also participated in numerous projects at Visionaries Voices, where he goes almost daily to continue work on his drawings.
While this exhibition also includes several smaller paintings and even a quilted drawing, Cooper’s primary series consists of city views drawn in “Bic” ink on enormous sheets of paper. Each piece usually requires between nine months and a year of labor. Because Cooper folds them up in his backpack between drawing sessions, they take on the appearance of well-worn maps.
Cooper's Cincinnati, USA: Before Meets After continues through May 21 at PAC Gallery. Go here to read Matt Morris' full review.