Home is built though the disjointed pieces of our own histories. Memories and magazines come together as a mosaic of personal narratives points a finger toward home.
Emory Cooper first planted her roots in Jackson as an 8-year-old and has let them grow into her first exhibition since college. “Home” hangs today at the Rose and opens with a reception at 7 p.m.
Cooper’s collages form familiar shapes of the area — an aspen grove or the Tetons. But the style that emerges on her canvases is unlike that of any artist who has encapsulated Jackson views.
She pores over magazines and pulls pages to create her color wheel.
“I’ll start with like six piles of variations of colors, and that’s kind of like my palette,” she said.
The process moves on with minor outlines to denote the sky or foreground of her colossal landscapes. Then she begins her “color by numbers.”
“I kind of fill it in as I see it,” Cooper said.
Hundreds of ripped strips of advertisements and textured images erupt off the canvas in fiery backdrops seen between the Technicolored stalks of endemic trees. Or they build into mountain ranges fit for a Van Gogh redux through the eyes of Chuck Close. Each work becomes a treasure hunt within Cooper’s creative license with others’ prefabricated icons.
“I could go to Michael’s and buy a bunch of scrapbook paper, but it doesn’t really have the same appeal,” Cooper said. “I love having hidden fish scales and eyeballs. ... It’s like a treasure hunt. My work would not be the same without all the photographers and everyone else doing what they do.”
As a fine arts major Cooper began collecting magazines, stockpiling a library that ended with her mother saying, “Get rid of these.” Torn spreads became a compromise of sorts that eventually became the foundation of her landscapes.
Cooper’s architect father inspired her creative side.
“I was always kind of on-site with him and learning the artistic side of houses,” Cooper said. “He’s a bit unorganized like I am, and I turn it into an organized chaos, if you would.”
After graduation Cooper turned to her sister, who has lived in Jackson for 18 years, for inspiration. Cooper migrated from Connecticut and took up lodging in her sister’s newfound home, quickly adopting a similar mindset.
Sometimes home is where we’re most loved and we ourselves love the most, or it can be where we grew up. Cooper said. The definition can change with age.
The Jackson Hole lifestyle, the people, the camping at Curtis Canyon; Cooper finds comfort in the rocky terrain.
Home is “wherever you feel safe and around people you love and laughter,” she said. “I guess it’s wherever you end up.”
With a nontraditional look at the place she is comfortable calling her Neverland, Cooper’s home ended up on the walls of the Rose.
Pieces range in size from 64 square inches to 8.5 feet tall by 4 feet wide. They cost $85 to $1,400.
“The biggest one that will be in the show is a reflection piece of Mount Moran,” Cooper said. “It may not fit on the walls.”