About Gabi Cooper
The heritage, customs, and folklore of the central Appalachian region, and the key visual components of my home in Wetzel County, West Virginia, have been the cornerstone of my artistic evolution. This has led me to intentionally explore the concrete visuals of locations, but also to reexamine the memories of my family from those places, and further explore the extended history and relationship that my family has with West Virginia. Elements such as topography, industry, tradition, heirlooms, folklore, and many other elements of central Appalachian culture, have become key components of my work, most specifically those pertaining to my family history.
Born and raised in Wetzel County in the beautiful mountain state, I have been considered the small town, artsy girl for most of my twenty-seven years. After graduating from Fairmont State University with a B.A. in art education and settling in as a high school art teacher back in Wetzel County, I have been steadily dancing back into artmaking while cultivating my own creative practices as a mixed media artist. Most of what I make twirls and twinkles in all aspects of Appalachian grannies, WV industries, every shade of pink, and all things simple yet spectacular. Focusing on the mundane in Appalachia in hopes of visually sewing in nostalgia is the ultimate focus of my work, along with fostering community connections, communication, and engagement through visual nostalgia-provoking imagery and themes. My love for layering and blending materials, styles, and themes within my art is ever present, and my overall process often differs drastically as I am consistently digging for what feels exciting, scary, and absorbing.
My work has been exhibited in West Virginia and Ohio, including the “OH+5 2022: Contemporary Art of Our Region” at The Dairy Barn Arts Center in Athens, Ohio, “Crosscurrents Annual Art Exhibition” at the Oglebay Institute’s Stifel Fine Arts Center in Wheeling, “West Virginia, Head Over Hills” at the Tamarack Fine Arts Gallery in Beckley, West Virginia, “72nd Allied Artists of West Virginia 2022 Juried Exhibition” at the Parkersburg Art Center in Parkersburg, West Virginia, and the “2022 West Virginia Emerging Artists Exhibition” at the Culture Center in Charleston, West Virginia.
Other Creative Skills