Mellie Cooper (b. 1949)

Residing in Southport, CT and Nantucket, MA, Mellie Cooper holds a Masters of the Fine Arts degree in sculpture from Pratt Institute. 

Her work contrasts art theory and perception; making use of the combined techniques of sculptor, printmaker and painter; together applied in collage. The resulting Trompe-l’oeil artworks exist in multiple theoretical and physical dimensions.

The artist makes use of old forms expressing them artistically in new ways. Inspired by New England quilts from the late 1880’s, she used pattern reflective of the artistic movements of the 1950’s to 60’s – Jim Dine’s hearts, Jasper Johns’s flags and Victor Vasarely’s tumbling blocks. Cooper’s portraiture expresses persona using lifeless garments – a life-size man’s Hawaiian shirt paired with Nantucket Reds, or a child’s Christening dress. Natural history, as perceived by mankind through the centuries, she considers via material culture: hooked rugs, nautilus and scallop shells, Basilius Besler’s 16th century botanicals, whaler’s journals.

“Mellie very carefully chooses the themes for her work through the absorption of imagery, and an appropriation of ideas which are a kind of visual reinvention reminiscent of the way Velasquez borrowed from Titian or Caravaggio borrowed from Michelangelo.” (Sharon Lorenzo, Art Historian, July 22, 2004)

Mellie Cooper introduced her extremely limited production on Nantucket during the early 1980’s at Sailor’s Valentine Gallery as well as in support of the Nantucket Historical Association. She presently exhibits her work annually, at Janice Aldridge Inc. ~ Carolyn Walsh