Using ink and acrylic on canvas, these nine-by-seven-foot works use landscape tropes to compose immense and surreal human heads that seem to float in ambiguous space. Unmoored from any depiction of the body, their scale demands a paradoxical bodily encounter with the viewer, one that parallels the artist’s physical engagement with both medium and ground in creating them. Each of the eight heads recalls elements of one of Koop’s earlier landscape series, such as Satellite Cities, Native Fires, and Deep Bay, and all pose existential questions about who we are, how we are socially constructed, and what we understand about our relationship with the natural world.
Koop is one of Canada’s most important and inventive contemporary artists. Her career spans over four decades with more than 50 major solo exhibitions, nationally and internationally, and numerous honours, including the Order of Canada in 2006. In 2010, the WAG and the National Gallery of Canada organized On the Edge of Experience, a comprehensive survey of her work that toured across the country.
Known for charting new directions in painting, Koop pushes the boundaries of presentation and display with her monumental scale painting installations. Her practice explores scenes of urbanization, industrialization, and robotic technology as it interfaces with the natural world, asking the viewer to reconsider imagery that is delivered through both cultural history and contemporary broadcast media.