Artist of the Week: Alika Cooper

Born in Agana, Guam, Alika Cooper currently lives and works in Los Angeles, California. She received her MFA from California College of the Arts in 2006.  Alika’s work has been exhibited in Germany, Switzerland, Italy and throughout the U.S.

How did your interest in art begin?

 

I took an after school class in 4th grade in San Diego, an oil painting still life class. We set up avocados and oranges in a pile. I remember really engaging with the problems of painting. Depicting an object in front of another object. And what color is an orange really? You cant just paint it orange and call it good. I got into how cruddy the paint quality of oil paint can get. Really dense and defiant and yucky and wet. i liked all the immediate contradictions in trying to depict something. You determine the space based on fact or fiction or both. It’s very disturbing.

What kinds of things are influencing your work right now?  I’m looking at a lot of books of European photographers from the 1930s-40s, nudes, and early fashion photography, Helmut Newton, Heinz Hajek-Halke, Yva Else Simon, Brassaii and starting to collect some books on American quilting and related crafts like “quilting for the home.”

What artists are you interested in right now?  This summer I’ve enjoyed looking at Tom Wesselmann paintings from the early eighties, especially the ones that are cropped out negative spaces of nudes and isolated on a canvas.

What was the last exhibition you saw that stuck out to you? I really enjoyed the current exhibition that is up at Cherry and Martin in Los Angeles, which re-stages curator Peter Bunnell?s landmark 1970 exhibition, Photography into Sculpture,  as a part of the Getty Museum citywide initiative, “Pacific Standard Time.”

Any current or upcoming shows we should know about? I have an upcoming solo exhibition this coming week at Eleanor Harwood Gallery in San Francisco. I’ve been working up to this show for a year now, and very happy to be finally installing this week. The opening is Saturday, September 17th. I will be showing works in a new medium: fabrics collaged on fabric, stretched on stretcher bars.