Wanda Koop UNSEEN SEEN
Works in the exhibition
For much of her career, Wanda Koop has kept a diary of water. She has mapped its bodies from above in her Satellite Cities series. She has ridden its arteries aboard an industrial container ship, harnessing it for the languid tracking shot of her cinematic SEEWAY works. And beginning in 2014, in her cabin atop Rolling River valley in southern Manitoba, she made of its mercurial surface a mirror, reflecting both her seclusion and the enigmatic abstraction of these newest paintings.
Koop created UNSEEN SEEN in the shadows of her dazzling In Absentia series, and those views of Manhattan's skyline - bold, minimal, and defiantly urban - find their counterpoint in these introspective works. Without depicting a soul, In Absentia described great confluences of people and cultures - the ebb and flow of a populace in flux. SEEN UNSEEN suggests more subtle exchanges of energy, its wobbled rainbows of colour evoking rhythms in nature - acoustic vibrations, microwaves, and atomic reactions. As her colours arc across the canvas, grouping in ribbon-bow eddies or tumbling like flares, the artist might as easily be describing the mutability of paint as of water. Both substances, are forever changing, delighting, and granting new life.
Koop recalls doing sketches for this series during the winter she spent in New York, where the exercise became a reprieve from city life. She describes wanting to be as close as possible to her surface, to register her every instinct with maximum immediacy so that her brush, arm and body operated as a single sensitive instrument - a seismograph needle attuned to the unconscious. As a whale employs sonar, or a bat echolocation, Koop continues to sound out uncharted realms in the vast landscape of painting. Never more precise, nor freer, Koop has exploited here painting's greatest strength - its unique capacity to transcend understanding and articulate the unknown.