Tara Cooper’s art practice draws from meteorology and creative non-fiction, resulting in projects housed under the moniker Weather Girl. The creative outcomes conflate the language of meteorology (forecasting, predictions, and atmospheric conditions) with the personal impact and experience of weather—visual poetics with scientific fact. She has an everything-but-the-kitchen sink approach to materials and media, and often joins forces with her all-in-one collaborator and husband Terry O’Neill. Their work combines print, found objects, sculpture and text along with documentary filmmaking. Recent accomplishments include residencies at Ox-Bow (Saugatuck, Michigan), Anderson Ranch Art Center (Snowmass, Colorado), The Wassaic Project (Wassaic, New York) and Landfall Trust (Brigus, Newfoundland), as well as arts council grants from Ontario and Canada, and a public art commission for Kitchener Waterloo’s ION light rail transit system. She is also the co-editor of Printopolis, a recent publication examining contemporary print culture, as well as the coordinator of S.A.I.L., a University of Waterloo outreach arts program that runs out of a vintage Airstream trailer. Tara is a member of Open Studio and the Toronto artist collective Loop, and is an Associate Professor at the University of Waterloo, Department of Fine Arts.
This week, I’m installing a show at SNAP gallery in Edmonton called Reading the Sky. The show began with an image of a boat, navigating the sea by night, but also took cues from the Beaufort Wind Scale, a 13-point observational system developed in 1805, Ann Davison, who was the first woman to cross the Atlantic Ocean alone, and William Gass’ poetic text On Being Blue. I love On Being Blue, especially the beginning which is a list-like litany of blue things: “Blue pencils, blue noses, blue movies, laws, blue legs and stockings.” Blue also seems appropriate as the work employs an indigo vat dyeing process, using silkscreen images as a resist. I discovered this technique last summer during an artist residency at Ox-Bow (a camp-like artist school/residency that’s been around for more than 100 years). Residencies represent some of the most seminal points in my art practice. They are a perfect combo that has connected me to new communities, while providing exposure to new techniques and places. I was only at Ox-Bow for two weeks, but it had a big impact. Check out the short video Terry and I made: https://vimeo.com/229338069.