Odd Ark • LA is pleased to announce Buoy, a solo exhibition by Los Angeles-based artist Alika Cooper. For Buoy, Alika Cooper constructs enigmatic compositions by cropping, flattening, and zooming in on collected photographs of women in bathing suits. Swatches of painted and dyed fabric are precisely cut, inlayed and collaged into a "reassembled" version of the photograph in which the figures are equated with their backgrounds. Cooper's paintings maintain a buoyancy between figuration and abstraction. In the original photographs, women sat basking in the sun, posed. In Cooper’s translation, they barely reveal themselves. They arrive floating, partially submerged in space, yet insistent.
Cooper’s paintings reflect her Southern Californian upbringing and an emphasis on swimming in suburban pools. The works externalize complex interior layers of female identity. They take form in a realm of simultaneity. Hair bleeds into skin, while clothing fades into the background.
A buoy is an anchored float that serves many purposes. It marks safe zones through which ships can pass, protecting them from collisions. As Cooper’s figures float, they signal the weight that women carry within a culture that objectifies them. Their floral fashions are warning signs and markers of survival; their zippers and knots bind, cover, and have the potential to expose. Initially masked as style and play, the invisibilized exertion of women’s work bobs to the surface.
ALIKA COOPER (b. 1979, Guam) lives and works in Los Angeles. She received both her MFA and BFA from California College of the Arts, San Francisco, CA. Solo and two person exhibitions include Madeline Cake SITUATIONS, New York; Wet Suits Good Weather Gallery, Little Rock; Have A Sex Fort Gondo, Saint Louis; The Disguised Edge MULHERIN, Toronto; UPBRAID Night Gallery, Los Angeles; and GLASS Eleanor Harwood Gallery, San Francisco. She was the recipient of the Rema Hort Mann Foundation grant, the MagicTrillium Press Yesland Prize, and the Jack and Gertrude Murphy Fellowship. She has participated in The Viewing Program at The Drawing Center, New York; MOTION PICTURE at The Saint Louis Art Museum; and was Artist in Residence at Galleria Studio Legale in Marzano Appio, Italy and at Marble House Project, Dorset, Vermont.
PRESS: Read ALIKA COOPER review of BUOY HERE