ARTisSpectrum Vol. 31, May 2014 - page 55

ARTisSpectrum | Volume 31 | artisspectrum.com
55
B
renda Ness-Cooper
brings dream destinations to life in her
gorgeous watercolors. Ness-Cooper paints classic vacation spots
all over the world, from Santorini, Greece to Japan to the American
Southwest. However, unlike landscape painters or even postcard
photographers, she depicts these otherworldly locales on a human
scale rather than as a panoramic view. She shows a small, characteristic
slice of each environment: a gondola through a single Venetian
archway, one grove within an Italian garden, the Sydney Opera house
casually framed by a few lazy sailboats. Within these glimpses, the
artist manages to show everything that is unique to these places while
making them utterly tangible – bringing the exotic into reach.
Ness-Cooper captures each atmosphere first by choosing her palette
carefully. Her saturated blues, greens, and browns communicate the
qualities of light and air, and the glory of local flora. She also uses
precise lines and a heightened divide between fore- and background
to emphasize the depth and dreamlike quality of the environments.
Brenda Ness-Cooper was born in Brooklyn, New York and currently lives
in Staten Island. She counts her summers in the Catskills, surrounded
by nature’s beauty, as one of the important influences on her work.
Fire Island Watercolor on Board 18” x 14”
Brenda Ness-Cooper
D
ave Toporowski
describes his highly evocative mixed media
reliefs as “modern cave art.” The work has a raw, hand-hewn quality
that stems from Toporowski’s personal process, in which he contours
artificial materials into a surface resembling a rock face. These swirls
and ridges are shaped into a stylized female figure and then painted
over with varnish, shellac, latex, and metallic pigment. The result is a
highly organic aesthetic, as the paint is applied in nebulous waves that
may or may not follow the contoured image underneath. The palette
is earthy and gentle, sometimes barely dipping into contrasting colors
at all.
This combination of painting and sculpture creates a fascinating
tension between foreground and background – one that Toporowski
is deliberately exploring. The female figure that appears throughout
his work represents the Divine Feminine. She stretches in the wind,
dances, or simply sits and lets light radiate from her body. Though she
is always active, she is secondary to the painted image: the spiritual
driving force present in everything we do.
Toporowski grew up outside Philadelphia, where he continues to live
today. After having worked in decorative painting, he is now a self-
taught contemporary artist.
Truth Unfolding
Mixed Media on Polystyrene 48” x 36” x 3.5”
Dave Toporowski
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