Charlotte Jackson Fine Art opens a solo exhibition of new work by Ron Cooper

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Charlotte Jackson Fine Art opens a solo exhibition of new work by Ron Cooper
Installation view.

SANTA FE NM.- Charlotte Jackson Fine Art is presenting a solo exhibition of new work, Ron Cooper: Cars & Bars, on view July 30 through September 4, 2021. The gallery is located in the Railyard Arts District at 554 South Guadalupe Street. Ron Cooper: Cars & Bars is Cooper’s first solo exhibition in his home-state of New Mexico since 2015.

When visiting Ron Cooper’s Taos studio, one is immediately aware of the artist’s other passion – cars – vintage cars that he races. His 1936 “Black Beauty” Ford five window coupe parked directly in front of the studio is the first attraction even before entering the building. But there is a relationship here – much like Cooper’s art, these beautiful cars, including the two that will be on display in Ron Cooper: Cars & Bars, draw the viewer in with their simple, classic forms, finish-fetish surfaces, and custom detailing.

As an early member of the 1960’s California Light and Space Movement, Cooper has long focused on using contemporary materials such as plexiglass, resin, and lacquer to capture and manipulate the perceptual phenomenon of light. His square Light Traps and slender column-like Vertical Bars represent his first experiments with these then-new materials, but while these works were pioneering investigations from his early career alongside other Southern California artists of the time, Cooper has never stopped working with cutting-edge materials, and the Corona Bars, on view in Ron Cooper: Cars & Bars, are just his latest exploration.

The title of the series, Corona Bars refers to the artist’s most recent work, created while in quarantine during the COVID-19 pandemic. This uninterrupted time in the studio was an unusual luxury for Cooper, who has spent years helping to popularize craft Mezcal, with his brand Del Maguey. This time has allowed him to explore an array of contemporary materials. The Corona Bars, share a similar structure to the columns from his Vertical Bars series. With their transparent plexiglass sides, they capture light from all angles, electrifying the synthetic pigments and medium on their faces. And as the light changes throughout the day the colors shift and change, and the surfaces vary between smooth iridescent and highly textured glitter, some even sharing the sensation of water puddling on the surface of one of Cooper’s highly polished car’s paint.

Charlotte Jackson Fine Art has hosted several exhibitions with Cooper over the gallery’s 32-year history, but none since 2001. With each new show, an element of surprise has always been present, and the latest body of work in Ron Cooper: Cars & Bars is no exception. Presented alongside a selection of Cooper’s prized classic cars, the Corona Bars invite the viewer into their own exploration of form and surface, and the relationships between hand-made contemporary art and finish-fetish car culture.

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