PHOTOGRAPHY THOMAS JOSHUA COOPER
The Snake River Pillar Falls Canyon Twin Falls County, Idaho, USA, 2003-4
Cooper’s forthcoming show at the lngleby Gallery, Rock
lngleby Gallery, Edinburgh, Thu 18 Mar—Thu 6 May
Shards of rocks emerge from ocean swells; dense clusters of moss envelop a boulder; the sea seethes and evaporates, emulating the inhalation and exhalation of air. Thomas Joshua Cooper’s sublime and meditative photographic compositions breathe energy and life.
Using an antique ﬁeld camera purchased in 1969, for over 35 years the Californian-born artist has travelled the globe to capture views from the extreme and inaccessible points of land. From the northern and southernmost points of mainland Europe to the northernmost point of Africa, Cooper has seen more edges of places than most. An obsessive map reader, he pinpoints locations, tracks them down and then photographs them. His interest lies in the sources of rivers, their mouths, where they spill into the sea and how that water body changes not just the topography but the human geography of the land around it.
‘l’m convinced that waves and river traces have fingerprints,’ explains Cooper, speaking from his studio at Glasgow School of Art where he is head of photography. ‘They have an effect in physical survival terms, but they also have a cultural effect on the places that pass them by. So I’m trying to place myself in the path of their effects
Water Wood, is a take on the scissors game of children. Like the game, he finds the points of either greatest strength or greatest vulnerability within the landscape. Each exposure varies in terms of developing time, from 30 seconds to four hours, and are printed by Cooper using the 19th century technique with layers of silver and gold chloride. And for Cooper, this is the most pleasurable part. Despite his years of experience and technical prowess in the field of photography, the end result can still surprise.
‘If there’s no surprise, there has to be delight and the delight is in the fact that almost nothing these days goes the way I initially expect,’ he says.
Cooper’s painterly compositions verge on the abstract and, quite apart from communicating the extreme points and beauty of the natural world, he attempts to convey elemental emotional conditions through his image- making. That intense emotional pull when you hear, feel or see something, that almost takes your breath away.
‘That first sense of amazement or awe is the beginning of a chain of reactions that’s quite complex and I’m interested in that chain,’ says Cooper. ‘But of course it has to start somewhere and if by looking at some of my pictures it begins, and took someone’s breath away, then that would really, really honour me.’ (Helen Monaghan)
and see what I can see.’
Illustration for a children’s tale by Laura Kriesch-Nagy
90 THE LIST 18 Mar 1 Apr 900/.
MIXED MEDIA .. .. WOMEN AT THE GODOLLO
Glasgow School of Art, Glasgow, until Sat 27 Mar .000
Women at the GOddllo Artists' Colony does much more than trace the history of the applied arts community through work by. and rei_)resentations of. women artists. It also highlights the close connections between British and Hungarian art at the turn of the last century.
One need not know of these links to see that the show belongs in the Glasgow School of Art -- the Mackintosh building serves as a home from home for the painting. drawing. tapestry and design. As well as this immediate. striking connection between the art and the architecture. the show reads like a potted history of British movements. appropriated. digested and reworked by Hungarian artists.
There's pre-Baphaelim portraiture. with Aladar Kerbsti—Kreisch painting women not as muses. but as fellow artists. Art nouveau motifs abound too.
notably in Res/so Mihaly's illustrations. The strongest connection is With the arts and crafts movement. The Gerlollo colony itself makes concrete the ideas of Ruskin, Morris and Burne-Jones, its weaving school emphasising the educative role of craft. and the homes of the GOdOllo artists representing a coming together of art forms to frame a life in which art was integral.
Indeed. every work here broadcasts the convictions of its makers. The tapestries and clothing designs here don't just appropriate the motifs of folk art — they celebrate a way of living and. importantly. have a use. This is not art for its own sake. but work that at once points toward and realises the progressive political goals of the movement.
This is a packed exhibition then. both in terms of the wealth of work on show, and the ambitious attempt to provide a thorOLigh overview of life and art at GOdOllo while emphasising the interplay of ideas between British and Hungarian thinkers and artists.
News from the world of art A
THE SHORTLIST FOR BECK’S Futures 2004 was announced earlier this month and among the ten finalists is Glasgow- based Hayley Tompkins, who creates small-scale paintings using watercolour on various types of paper. In the competition’s five year history, Scotland, and Glasgow in particular, has produced three winners, including Roddy Buchanan, Toby Paterson and Rosalind Nashashibi. This year’s selection panel includes Dundee Contemporary Art’s curator Katrina Brown and artists Mark Dion and Philippe Parreno. The winner, who will receive £24,000, will be announced on 27 April. The exhibition goes on show at the ICA in London from 26 March until 16 May before travelling to the CCA in Glasgow (12 June—1 August). And in the Beck’s Futures Student Prize for Film and Video, Edinburgh College of Art graduate Margarita Vasquez Ponte has been shortlisted for her film Never Been in a Riot which follows an anti-war demonstration in Madrid.
GLASGOW-BASED LUCY SKAER. who was shortlisted for Beck‘s Futures last year. is one of two artists commissioned to make a site~specific work for Channel 4's headquarters in London, forming part of ART4. Channel 4‘s new collection of contemporary art. A founding member of artist collective Henry Vlll‘s Wives. Skaer has created four unlimited edition posters using images from the archive of broadcast material. The work will be unveiled on 31 March. The ART4 collection. which also includes work by Glasgow-born Michael Fullerton. can be viewed on www.channelAcom/artA. ARTIST-RUN EMERGED ARE looking for proposals for a calendar-specific art project to be housed in their vacant shop front on Woodlands Road in Glasgow. For a proposal form email email@example.com.
Beck’s finalist Hayley Tompkins