Jess Riva Cooper is an artist and educator based in Toronto, integrating colour, drawing, and clay to create sculptures and installation-based artworks.
Jess Riva Cooper received her MFA in Ceramic Sculpture from the Rhode Island School of Design. Cooper exhibits her work throughout Europe and North America and has participated in numerous artist residencies such as Brandeis University, Lillstreet Arts Center, Medalta, The Archie Bray Foundation, and The Kohler Arts/Industry Program. Cooper currently teaches at Sheridan College in the Bachelor of Craft and Design Program in Oakville.
In my art practice, I integrate colour, drawing and clay to create installation-based artwork. I study the foundation myths of the Dybbuk in Yiddish folklore and reinterpret these traditional stories through a female lens. I also investigate fallen economic and environmental climates in cities where houses have become feral, disappearing behind ivy, trees and Kudzu vines that were planted generations ago. I see a direct parallel between my interest in insidious plant life and a malevolent Dybbuk spirit, which takes over the human body. In both situations a loss of control is suffered as the parasitic entity subsumes the host.
In my sculptures, the world sprouts plant matter. Colour and form burst forth from quiet gardens and bring chaos to ordered spaces. Nature undergoes a reclamation process by creeping over structures, subverting past states and creating a preternatural transformation.