His Sky, His Home, and Her Soul

A pair of shows at the Coral Springs Museum takes you from the ethereal to the visceral

Fair enough. But to me, it's of greater interest to know that she also professes to have been influenced by such abstract expressionists as de Kooning, Motherwell, and Kline. I suspect that, directly or indirectly, she has also been influenced by Francis Bacon's highly gestural and spontaneous handling of paint. Yes, Bacon was obsessed above all with representation, usually of the human body. But his distortions sometimes creep in the direction of abstraction.

After a few passes through "Experimental Painting," I shared my theory of Bacon's influence on Cooper with O'Keefe, prefaced by a warning that she would probably wonder if I were crazy. I was thinking primarily of a number of canvases that share a palette of vivid orangeish reds and pale tans, accented with dramatic marks in black and white. (The paintings dominated by blues and greens leave me cold.)

These paintings are so organically linked that they might be fragments of a much larger image. Together, they form a sort of suite, each reinforcing the other. And that color scheme — so reminiscent of some of Bacon's work that I couldn't help but think Cooper has in effect emptied Bacon's bleak spaces of their representational, human elements and replaced them with her own vigorous abstractions.

Miller's spontaneous brushwork is reminiscent of the technique of Francis Bacon.
Miller's spontaneous brushwork is reminiscent of the technique of Francis Bacon.
Ly's sculpture somehow evokes Florida's fauna and flora.
Ly's sculpture somehow evokes Florida's fauna and flora.

Details

On display through February 17. Call 954-340-5000.
Coral Springs Museum of Art, 2855 Coral Springs Dr., Coral Springs.

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No doubt Bacon would have declared me insane. Cooper may well agree. Regardless, her work reinvigorates abstract expressionism more than any I've seen in a long time. I hope she continues on her path.

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