Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Jess Riva Cooper

 Jess Riva Cooper, Ceramics MFA 2010


Imagine a future world of sprouting, fruiting plant matter, bursting forth from quiet gardens, and bringing chaos to ordered museums. This is a world where nature is reclaiming her place in the world by creeping over roads, vehicles, even our great works of art in a slow whimsical dance. This wild floral growth subverts a previous state of normalcy, creating something preternatural from this transformation. Rich placid greens, angry neon pinks, dark bruised purples and electric yellows flow over the curves and undulations of this insidious growth. Saturated colors embrace the three-dimensionality and tactile qualities of the ceramic surface, a realistic palate is unnecessary; color is used instead to translate human mood and emotion to clay and the painted surface.

In her recent studio work Jessica Riva Cooper has been exploring the parasitic and insidious nature of plants and fungus such as the Cordyceps Fungus and the Kudzu vine. Some Cordyceps species are able to affect the behavior of their insect host. The Cordyceps unilateralis, for instance, causes ants to climb a plant and attach there before they die, assuring maximal distribution of the spores from the fruiting body that sprouts out of the dead insect's body. The Kudzu vine has proliferated the Southern United States, similar to other vining plants that are slowly reclaiming the thousands of abandoned houses throughout America. In Detroit alone there are over ten thousand abandoned houses and any time. These houses become ‘feral’, disappearing behind ivy and trees that were planted generations ago.

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