Named a Favourite Book of 2010 by Drawn's John Martz
Fine artist Dave Cooper offers us a window into the wobbly dollhouse that is his mind’s eye. The work in Bent gathers a diverse mix of imagery that is also strangely focussed in its single-mindedness. This work has found a devoted and passionate following with visitors to Cooper’s solo gallery shows in Los Angeles and New York in recent years.
Cooper continues to obsess and fixate over his bizarre procession of milky figures as they crawl and wriggle into hidden meadows, jungles and cities. Everything in this world seems to be undulating and overripe — the multi-coloured Jell-O vegetation, the billowing clouds, and the twitching, agitated women, whether thin like sinewy rubber, or fat and bursting with doughy flesh.
The characters in Cooper’s work have been likened to a dog chasing its tail. Or maybe it’s as though they’re like someone on drugs who can stare at their own hand for 20 minutes; either way, these girls are hypnotized by wriggling around on the ground, twisting in on themselves, walking on their hands, squeezing and chewing one another. It may sound hellish, but to the demons, hell must seem like heaven. So maybe Cooper’s landscapes are more like a weird kind of utopia where all those insane facial expressions and physical contortions are more an experession of elation or giddiness.
This monograph collects Cooper’s finest, most revealing paintings, ink drawings, pencil sketches, and photographs from the past five years, many of which enjoy homes in the collections of influential collectors and some of Hollywood’s elite. Among this esteemed crowd is the great auteur, Oscar-nominated Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth, the upcoming Hobbit movies [maybe]), who provides an enthusiastic introduction for Bent.