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 Karen Cooper  (1953 - )

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Lived/Active: New Mexico      Known for: pastel horses, Native American

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Karen Cooper
An example of work by Karen Cooper
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Karen Cooper (b.1953-)

Artist's Statement

"Mr. Webster writes that 'black is the absence of light and the absorption of all color'. In my art I interpret that to mean that my black paper is looking for light and color when I start a painting and I am fulfilling that quest. But only partially, there is so much the black can add that I let it! The richness of the black of the paper makes its own case for being left to itself. This is what I call, "drawing on the negative". Of course, the key is to know which is which. I do not explain it; simply, it is a way of seeing..."

When Karen Cooper was eight years of age, she made the statement, "I will be a famous artist one day." That was a few miles ago; Karen didn't know about how marriage and family would put the direction and course of her life on hold. Then in the late nineties, as her career in the venture capital world of Silicon Valley was growing, she began her return journey to art, from which she has never looked back.

In August 2001 her father passed away. Then came 9/11 and everyone's world turned upside down. Shortly, thereafter, Silicon Valley helped her reach a momentous decision; her company folded and she found herself in a not-so-friendly work market. Only one thing left for her to do, live the dream she had started at eight. Within a year, Cooper had her first one-woman show as a full-time artist, and she and her husband left behind all that was known and safe for the wilds of New Mexico. Within three months of that, she designed her own studio and broke ground for its building!

Today Karen Cooper is painting contemporary Western Art subjects, and her trademark is her use of negative space. Her paintings, even though done with the large soft pastel sticks, show the greatest of detail; she leaves out nothing of importance but she leaves her spaces right where they should be to make the viewer think he/she sees it all. And, she intends her anatomy to be perfect, both of people and of animals. On more than one occasion she has been told by horse trainers, horse arena owners and heads of horseman associations that, "although I hate what artists do to horses in their work, you got it right! I have never seen anyone who can do horses (and other animals) as well as you do."

Lending credence to these statements, Karen's western art is featured in: 

    Western Horseman
    May 2005 Issue
    "Western Art Gallery"
    by Betty Harvey-Manson
Karen Cooper was Cover Page Artist with story in:
    Gold Canyon Lifestyle
    July 2005 Issue
    "Featured Artist of the Month"
    by Kurt Lentz

Karen Cooper won the 2004 People's Choice Award with 70% of the vote at the National Pastel Exhibition of the Pastel Society of New Mexico. 

In addition she has been invited by jury to be in the American Academy of Women Artists Signature Member Show, "Western Visions", at  El Presidio Gallery, Tucson AZ opening Nov 4, 2005 with reception on Nov 12, 5-8PM.

Charter/Exchange Student, Konstskolan Art School, Sweden
BFA, San Francisco State University, CA
AA Architectural Design, San Mateo CC, CA

Shows & Exhibitions:
National Exhibition of the Pastel Society of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM, 2003-2007
Masterworks of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 2004 & 2006-2007
The Phippen Museum of Western Art Invitational Show and Sale, Prescott, AZ 2005-2009
Peppertree Art Show and Sale, Invitational & Finale, Santa Ynez, CA, 2006-2008
Cattlemen’s Association Art Show and Sale, Invitational, Paso Robles, CA 2007-2008, 2010
Roundup Show and Sale, Invitational, Museum of Western Art, Kerrville, TX 2007-2010
Greeley Stampede Western Art Show, Invitational, Greeley, CO 2007-2010
Collectors’ Classic Art Show, Invitational, Museum of Western Art, Kerrville, TX 2007-2008
Mountain Oyster Club’s Invitational Contemporary Western Art Show, Tucson, AZ 2007-2009
Phippen Museum Exhibit, Wild Horses! Phippen Museum, Prescott, AZ 2008
Night of Artists Art Sale & Gala, Briscoe Museum Foundation, San Antonio, TX 2009
Western Artists of America Small Works Show and Sale, J. Willott Gallery, Palm Desert, CA 2009
Empire 100 Western Art Show & Sale, Empire Ranch Foundation, Tucson, AZ 2009
Western Artists of America Museum Show & Sale, Museum of Western Art, Kerrville, TX 2009-2010
Cheyenne Frontier Days Western Art Show & Sale, Old West Museum, Cheyenne, WY 2010

Awards & Achievements:
Peoples’ Choice Award—National Exhibition of the Pastel Society of NM, 2004
Honorable Mention—The Pastel Journal Magazine, Pastel Top 100 2004
Third Place Award—Miniature Arts Bardean 2005
Honorable Mention—NM State Fair Fine Arts 2005
Sponsors’ Award—National Exhibition of the Pastel Society of NM, 2005
Peoples’ Choice Award—Homestead Western Art Show & Sale, 2006
Signature Member—Awarded level of skill by the Pastel Society of New Mexico, 2006
Wingspread Publications Award—National Exhibition of the PSNM, 2006
Award of Merit-Drawing (First Place)—Southwest Arts Festival, 2007
Third Place Award, Pastels—The Phippen Museum Western Art Show, 2007
Gold Award, Dry Medium—Western Artists of America Museum Show, 2009

Pastel Journal Magazine, Top 100 Pastels for 2004, February 2005
Western Horseman Magazine, Artist Profile, May 2005
Pastel Journal, Pastel Pointers, August 2006
Horses in Art Magazine, Feature Article, Spring 2007
Wildlife Art Magazine, Feature Article, May/June 2007
Western Art Collector, Western Artists of America Feature, August 2009
Western Art Collector, Horizon Fine Art Gallery Feature, September 2009

Professional Affiliations:
Western Artists of America—WAA Signature Member—Pastel Society of New Mexico
Member—American Society of Bovine Artists

Information provided by Dwight Barnett and Karen Cooper.

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