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Like the comic silence that treads a thrilling fine line ; the pregnant pause in a bar of music ; the short line of poetry that gathers emotion in refrain , Jessica Cooper’s apparent simplicity on canvas is her most courageous and impactful tool .

The temptation might be to call it minimalism , with its implication of stripping away – or simplicity , with its suggestion of naiveté – but more accurately this is mindfulness of art : a honing of awareness ; an attentiveness of mind ; and an openness to meaning , wherever it might be found .

To watch Cooper at work is to observe a tireless quest for this all-important meaning . As she prepares for a painting in her ever-present sketchbook , she explores and distils the subject until finding what she describes as its ‘core’ : the part or parts in which she finds value , essence , emotion , substance or significance , impact or import . Once found , all else falls beyond the borders of the canvas , the noise of life is turned to fade , and she focuses with a rare clarity .

ismay atkins
excerpt : catalogue foreword : about home