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Matt Cooper

Matt Cooper has been a unique voice in the visual art world for over fifteen years. His shocking and provocative paintings are an attempt to shine a light on society’s indifference to corruption, cruelty, suffering, hypocrisy and ignorance. His oil paintings are like headlines from the newspaper: mass genocide in a church, a baby found in a dumpster, a schoolyard massacre, a lone figure on a bridge.

Cooper has a degree in Photojournalism from UNC-Chapel Hill (1982) and it is with a photographer’s eye that he captures his images, using light and dramatic angles to help us witness his stories. He has been compared to the American social realists of the Great Depression: Thomas Hart Benton, George Bellows, and John Sloan. He is an African American artist who paints all people with equal eloquence and empathy. This is Cooper’s ninth exhibition of Social Realism at Gallery C.

This recent body of works, American Parables, is by far the most directly political in the artist’s career. For many years Cooper has fused his feelings with color and a brush to explore man’s indifference to his fellow man and asking….” What are the Myths upon which our Civilization is built?” This year, Cooper must ask a more pointed question….  “Is this current situation in America a new scandal or a continuation of the same scandal, with new faces pasted over ancient urges?” Cooper does not hold back, giving us scathing political portraits of the current administration, images of the Iraq war and of the UN bombing, as well as of the abuses of Homeland Security.

There are few artists today painting the dark realities of our human condition. Cooper is among the heroic few. While not everyone will agree with the politics implicit in some of these artworks, it is important to recognize that paintings such as Cooper’s fuel the national dialogue and bring life to our democratic process.

Read this artist's biography

North Carolina painter Matt Cooper is a storyteller, a narrator of the dark side of the human condition. His shocking and provocative paintings are an attempt to shine a light on society’s indifference to corruption, cruelty, suffering, hypocrisy and ignorance.  His oil paintings are like headlines from the newspaper:  mass genocide in a church, a baby found in a dumpster, a schoolyard massacre, a lone figure on a bridge.

Cooper has a degree in Photojournalism from UNC-Chapel Hill (1982) and it is with a photographer’s eye that he captures his images, using light and dramatic angles to help us witness his stories.  He has been compared to the American social realists of the Great Depression:  Thomas Hart Benton, George Bellows, and John Sloan. He is an African American artist who paints all people with equal eloquence and empathy.

There are few artists today painting the dark realities of our human condition.  Cooper is among the heroic few. His carefully composed paintings are the perfect vehicle for his messages and few viewers will remain unchanged by the experience. Matt Cooper has been represented by Gallery C exclusively since 1987. For more information about Matt Cooper, please click this link to read his

Review this artist's vitae [PDF document]


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