The Body in Bloom
My life-sized figurative paintings use energetic brushwork, vivid colors, and unfurling layers of painted flesh to explore humanity as a living, evolving force. I visually break down the body to reveal the spark of life—from the interweaving of systems that sustain a single person’s life to the connections between individuals across generations. Life is woven through us on these micro and macro scales.
To represent life’s regenerative cycles, I envision the core of the body as an active, blooming force. Thick and thin brushwork build up the body of the figure, yet are pushed beyond anatomical rendering to inhabit a life of their own. Figures physically connect through flesh, veins, and bone to surrounding figures—and even across multiple canvases. The pelvis, often presented as the source of an emanating glow, is emphasized as the cradle of regeneration. Works compositionally move in a circular or forward momentum suggesting flow of life through each figure to the next generation.
My aim is to ignite curiosity about our human relationship with the life that mysteriously inhabits us. We experience life from our own cycles over one lifetime. However, it is connected across vast size and time scales to an origin of all life on earth. At what point does life truly begin and end with this vast perspective?
I believe that by revealing our connections with our ancestors—human and beyond—we can grow a greater understanding for our place in that history.
Looking backward opens questions about how our actions impact the future. Now is the time to investigate our past and present connections to the life around us as seas rise, extinction threatens, and climate changes, thrusting our future into uncertainty.
Nicole Cooper. Fulcrum (diptych) oil on linen. 48 x 58 inches, 2015.