New and mind-bending at Curtis

Susan Cooper restrospective runs through June 25 at gallery in Greenwood Village

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Susan Cooper is a Denver-based, nationally recognized artist, known for her large works in the realm of public art, created with media including plexiglass, steel and copper, LED lighting, concrete, polycarbonate steel, wood and bronze.

A colorful retrospective of her work opened May 14 at Curtis Center for the Arts, 2349 E. Orchard Road, Greenwood Village and will run through June 25.

It is called “Susan Cooper: Rearranging.”

It includes large works like “Corona Comfort,” created from scraps of brightly colored plexiglass saved from earlier projects. She writes in the show’s prospectus that they were non-biodegradable and vibrant in color. Some were too huge to move and some show images from past projects.

“Forward and Back,” a particularly lively, brightly colored paper mural, is made of cut-up postcards that were printed to advertise earlier exhibits by Cooper. A companion piece, “Rearranging Retrospectionism,” is on a similar theme, but made from black-and-white postcards, which Cooper says were all she could afford at first.

Walk on into the exhibit and she surely shows an intent to play with your mind, as she messes with perspective! Chairs and tables, lamps and beds skew in various ways and angles. Some are actual furniture pieces — sort of — and others are wall-hung artworks. “Just not functional furniture,” she writes.

Bright color prevails in general, with the exception of a pair of bronze cast wall pieces, “Highwise” and “Full House,” in her Storyline Series. They call a visitor to stare at the detail.

All of these artworks show a precise attention to fine craftsmanship and a fascinating intellect. These works relate in my mind to surrealism — they are indeed surreal, yet include objects that are so familiar.

Cooper’s bio says she received MA and BA degrees from the University of California at Berkeley and has an early major work in Denver’s City/County Building Rotunda: two high relief murals. She has work at area light rail stations plus additional projects in Colorado, California, Florida, Missouri and Nebraska.

I think children with a creative bent would enjoy this exhibit, although I’d imagine a number of “why” questions may come forth. A “no-touch” rule would certainly be needed, but it is stimulating to contemplate this work ...

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