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Tara Cooper

artist × educator



Fall 2014

Anderson Ranch Arts Center

Terry and I are attending a 10-week residency at the wonderful Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Snowmass Colorado. We are working on a storm-chasing kit with woodcuts and handmade weathervanes. So far there's lots of surprises... unexpected weather and wildlife. Our 10 day list of experiences includes a hail storm, snow, 80 degree temperatures, a blanket of fog, lots of cumulus clouds, a coyote on the golf course and bloody bear prints... plus Chi Chu the dog (he mostly hangs out in ceramics). 


Summer 2014

The Wassaic Project

My installation Based on a True Story is part of this year’s Wassaic Project and is on view now. The highlight is Wassaic’s 3-day arts festival, which is an extravaganza running from August 1st-3rd. Hundreds and hundreds of people travel to the tiny hamlet to take in dance, music, film, food, performance and this year’s featured exhibition, Seeing the Sky.  

Our piece, which is about storm chasing, tracking weather and chasing clouds is housed at the top of the mill, seven flights up. The installation is jam-packed and includes film, drawing, meteorological ephemera, sound, a lightning tower and a 20-foot hand-carved woodcut. There’s even a wind machine and a series of banners that advise viewers to “Know Which Way the Wind Blows” and to “Weather the Storm”. The piece took a month to install and was made in collaboration with my partner Terry O’Neill. It is without exception my most ambitious project.

The exhibition runs until September 1st and is open each weekend. Thank you to the Ontario Arts Council for their support via an exhibition assistance grant. 

We are building a series of small-scale weather vanes. Here are the cardboard maquettes... next steps, plasma cutter, CNC router, welding and ceramics.

"Table Collages" from our Studio at Anderson Ranch. I also participated in an interesting questionnaire on the Ranch's blog – http://www.andersonranch.org/anderson-ranch-general/



We spent an amazing three weeks in July at Landfall in Brigus, Newfoundland, living off the grid in a 200-year-old cottage perched on the ocean. The residency is sponsored by The Rooms and the Landfall Trust.

Here are some of the collages I made during the residency. The plan is to develop these into a compendium called Brigus: Know Which Way the Wind Blows. It will include two sections: The Daily Report and The Historic Event. Brigus has two claims to fame. Captain Bob Bartlett who was an arctic explorer and sea caption in the early 1900's was born and raised in Brigus, and the famous illustrator Rockwell Kent, who lived at Landfall from 1914-1915.  


Based on a True Story, 2014

A part of the 2014 summer exhibition Seeing the Sky at The Wassaic Project, Based on a True Story is about storm chasing, tracking weather and chasing clouds. Made in collaboration with Terry O’Neil, the immersive installation looks at the supercell–the severe weather cloud that produces anomalies such as baseball-sized hail, wedge-shaped tornadoes and flash floods. Our project has the sensibility of a maximalist, combining film, sound, drawing, meteorological equipment and ephemera. There’s even a wind machine and a series of banners that advise viewers to “Know Which Way the Wind Blows” and to “Weather the Storm”.  The short film was nominated for Best Emerging Director at the 2014 Golden Sheaf Awards.

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Thank you to the Ontario Arts Council for their support via an exhibition assistance grant. 

Benchwarmers 2010, 2014

"What is sport? Sport answers this question by another question: who is best?"

— Barthes, Roland. What is Sport?, trans. Richard Howard (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2007). 63. 

Dodgeball is a game of elimination. It pits children against each other with the common goal of pegging one another out. In the beginning, we imagined this piece as a two-channel video—one with the aggressor, depicting a legion of flying balls and one with the dodger, an image of continually moving limbs that try to avert the attack. After filming twelve year old Max and his friend Owen, however, the complex nature of friendship, sportsmanship and competition demonstrated itself. During the interview, we asked the boys if they would describe themselves as competitive. They immediately answered yes, emphasizing their responses with a “very, very, competitive” from Owen, followed by the one-upmanship “very, very, very competitive” from Max. Although we shot the film as originally imagined, the most compelling footage came from the interview’s outtakes—moments when the boys were unaware of their actions. The bench was over six feet long, but the boys instinctively sat crushed together. Throughout the interview, there was nonstop fidgeting. The balls were twirled, bounced, spun, punched, hugged, stepped on, kicked and used as a pillow. The footage captured the physical nature and dynamics of their friendship, from intimate moments when one playfully put the other in a headlock, to focused concentration when they tried to beat each other at dodgeball, to moments of disappointment... a missed shot and when one of them finally gets pegged out. 

Benchwarmers was first exhibited at the pop-up installation Art School [Dismissed] in 2010 and at Harbourfront Toronto as part of the show School Work: Innovative Designs for Education.

Language of Weather, 2013

 Cut paper installation with lithography, woodcut, silkscreen and digital imaging, 17' x 8'. 

Off Season, 2010

My grandmother turns 100 this February. For more than 40 years, she made her way south during the winter, to stay in Panama City Beach, Florida. She is force within our family, strong and independent with a flair for fashion. Her last pair of glasses, worn for more than a decade, were bedazzled with pink cubic zirconias. She recently gave me some of her dresses from the 60’s, signed Mr. Dino. During the 80’s, many of her friends met annually in Panama City Beach to play bridge, golf, swim, attend dances in the club house, walk on the beach and shop. As the years recede, most of her friends have died. This project was made when she was 95. The 3 channel silent video was shot on her balcony in Panama City overlooking the beach. The installation was presented at Loop Gallery and at The Gladstone Hotel as part of Toronto's alternative art fair. 

Weather Permitting, 2009

This animation investigates the language of weather and the desire for the current conditions to take a turn for the better. Excerpts citing weather conditions are combined with drawings of clouds and personal anecdote. The results conflate the intimacy of the individual’s experience, with the status and formality of the statistical report, the daily log, or weather journal. 



Cornell University, MFA (specialization: print media), Ithaca, New York, 2008.

Concordia University, MFA (specialization: printmedia), Montreal, Quebec, 2005-2006 (one year only).

Queen’s University, BFA, BEd, Kingston, Ontario, 1994/1995.


Based on a True Story, The Wassaic Project Exhibition and Festival, Summer 2014, Wassaic, New York. Made in collaboration with Terry O’Neill.

Supercell, Loop Gallery, October 2013, Toronto, Ontario. Made in collaboration with Terry O’Neill.

Thunderhead: Roadside Attractions Window Display, June 2013, Toronto, Ontario.

Weather Wise, Loop Gallery, March 2012, Toronto, Ontario.

Weather Girl’s Field Guide to Lightning, Open Studio, November 2011, Toronto, Ontario.

Weather Girl, Pearson International Airport (Terminal 1), November 2010, Toronto, Ontario.

Off Season, Loop Gallery, February/March 2010, Toronto, Ontario.

Weather Permitting, Open Studio, July 2009, Toronto, Ontario.

Until the Lake Froze Solid, Lennox Gallery, September 2008, Toronto, Ontario.

Until the Lake Froze Solid, Tjaden Gallery, April 2008, Ithaca, New York.

Field Notes, Harbourfront Centre (site-specific), September 2007, Toronto, Ontario.

Lulu-The Saga Continues, Premier Dance Theatre, November 2004, Toronto, Ontario.

Speaking of Lulu M. Elliott, Member’s Gallery: Open Studio, November 2004, Toronto, Ontario.

Forgotten Stories and Other Bird-Like Movements, Robert Langen Gallery:

Wilfred Laurier University, October 2004, Waterloo, Ontario.

Falling Between the Feathers, Malaspina Printmakers, March 2004, Vancouver, B.C..

Loose Threads, Temiskaming Art Gallery, March 2002, Haileybury, Ontario.

Beneath Her Covers, Eastern Edge Gallery, February 2001, St. John’s, Newfoundland.

Quilted Stories, Hart House Gallery, University of Toronto, February 2000, Toronto, Ontario.


Featured Artist Project: SP Weather Reports (2008–2013), The Center for Book Arts, 17 Jan.–29 Mar. 2014, New York City, New York. I was part of the 2012 publication.

Benchwarmers, Harbourfront Centre (Architecture Exhibition Space), Fall 2013, Toronto, Ontario.

The site-specific installation was made in collaboration with Terry O’Neill (50/50 split)

Toronto Art Fair, Metro Convention Centre (Booth for Open Studio), Oct. 2012-13, Toronto, Ontario.

Supercell, Duncan Jordonstone College of Art & Design, August 2013, Dundee, Scotland.

Note: This was held in conjunction with Impact 8: International Printmaking Conference.

Tel-Talk (interventions in telephone booths), Telephone Booth Gallery, July 2012, Toronto, Ontario.

TH&B2, 70 Sherman Avenue, April-May 2012, Hamilton, Ontario.

Constructed View, Harbourfront Centre, Winter 2012, Toronto, Ontario.

Pink Pearl, Gladstone Hotel, December-January 2012, Toronto, Ontario.

Call Home: Domestic Narratives, Telephone Booth Gallery, May 2011, Toronto, Ontario.

Weather Girl, Gladstone Hotel, Nuit Blanche 2010, Toronto, Ontario.

Art School {Dismissed}, Shaw Street School, May 2010, Toronto, Ontario.

Up and Coming, Hunterdon Art Museum, Summer 2009, Clinton, New Jersey.

Cornell MFA Thesis Exhibition, May 2008, New York City Center.

Crit II, Spencertown Academy Arts Center, August 2007, Spencertown, New York.

Encounter, Atelier Limited: Galerie and Edition, June 2007, Munster, Germany.

Fruit Loops–Video Print, Zone Gallery, March 2007, Kansas City, Missouri.

Fabula Rasa: A Collaboration of Writers & Artists, Cornell, February 2007, Ithaca, New York. 

Cultivating Creativity, Yerba Beuna Center for the Arts, January 2007, San Francisco, California.

Hello Dolly! SPIN Gallery, August 2006, Toronto, Ontario.

CWOP, Lennox Gallery, August 2006, July 2005, Toronto, Ontario.

Pony Up: White Cube on the Move, April 2006, St. Catherine Street, Montreal, Quebec.

Rotary Blue, Atelier Circulaire, February 2006, Montreal, Quebec.

Kala Thirty Something, SFMoMA Artists’ Gallery, June-July 2005, San Francisco, California.

Modern Myths, Case Studies: York Quay Galleries, May-July 2005, Toronto, Ontario.

BIMPE II, Dundarave Print Gallery, Summer 2004, Vancouver, British Columbia.

The Essence of Nature, Bedford Gallery, Dean, June-August 2004, Walnut Creek, California.

Tintcure of Time: Place of Healing, Richmond Health Center, January-April 2004, California.

Art 03, San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art, October 2003, San Jose, California.

2x4 Fellowship Recipients, Kala Art Institute, August 2003, Berkeley, California.

Print, Pixels and Portals, CAC Gallery, September 2002, North Adams, Massachusetts.

St. Michael’s Archives, Charlottetown Arts Guild, September 2001, Prince Edward Island.

Fervent Precincts: Great Canadian Print Exhibition, Edward Day Gallery, July 2000, Toronto.


Assistant Professor (tenure track), University of Waterloo, Department of Fine Arts, 2011-present.

Sessional Faculty, OCAD University (Printmaking), Toronto, Ontario, 2004-2011.

Sessional Faculty, Sheridan College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning, Fall 2010.

Sessional Faculty, Sir Sanford Fleming College, Haliburton School of the Arts, 2009-2010.

Instructor, Toronto School of Art, 2009–2011.

Facilitator for The Canadian Art School Hop (outreach program for high school students), Canadian Art Foundation, 2009–2010.

SELECTED WRITING: Publications, Blogs and Reviews

Art Bitch: Reviewing Toronto’s Best Contemporary Art, “Loop Gallery: Tara Cooper and Suzanne Nacha”, Stephanie Anne D’Amico, Ocotober 16, 2013. http://www.artbitch.ca/?p=175

Tel-Talk, Edited by Paola Poletto, Liis Toliano & Yvonne Koscielak, Tight Rope Books, 2012.

The Globe and Mail, “Nostalgic Trip Through Travel and Weather”, R.M. Vaughan, March 9, 2012, http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/arts/rm-vaughan/nostalgic-trips-through-travel-and-weather/article2364274

Art School Dismissed, “Shirts vs Skins”, exhibition catalogue produced by Heather Nicol, Lake View Press: Toronto, 2011, p. 30, 32-33.

Silent Volume, “Scenes from a Separated Life (2010)”, Chris Edwards, January 27, 2011.


View on Canadian Art, “Art School Dismissed”, Andrea Carson, May 17th, 2010.


Art MoCo Loco “My State of The Art: Tara Cooper”, Sabine, August 26, 2010.


Loop Gallery, “A Conversation with Tara Cooper”, Ingrid Mida, March 8, 2010,


New York Times, “By Invitation Only,” Benjamin Genocchio, August 23, 2009, NJ 12..

Eye Weekly, “Tara Cooper, Until the Lake Froze Solid” David Balzer, September 25, 2008, P. 50.


Anderson Ranch Art Center Residency, Snowmass, Colorado, Fall 2014.

Landfall Trust ResidencyBrigus, Newfoundland, June 2014.

UW/SSHRC Travel Grant, 2014.

Ontario Arts Council, Exhibition Assistance Grant, 2014.

LITE Seed Grant, University of Waterloo, 2013.

Canada Council for the Arts, Travel Grant, August 2013.

Wassaic Project Artist Residency, Wassaic, New York, August 2013.

Lois Claxton Humanities and Social Sciences Award, University of Waterloo, 2012.

Best Local Film, Toronto Urban Film Festival, Toronto, Ontario, Fall 2011.

Nick Novak Scholarship, Open Studio, September 2010-September 2011.

Best in Category (The Emotional City), Toronto Urban Film Festival, September 2010.

Toronto Arts Council, Mid-Career Project Grant, 2010.

Ontario Arts Council, Mid-Career Project Grant, 2010.

Honourable Mention Best in Show, Toronto Urban Film Festival, Toronto, Ontario, Fall 2009.

Saltonstall Foundation Project Grant, New York, 2008-09.

Cornell Council for the Arts Grant, Ithaca, New York, 2008.

Printmaking Residency, Kloster Bentlage, Rheine, Germany, 2007.

Graduate Student Conference Grant, Cornell, University, 2007.

J.A. de Seve Entrance Fellowship, Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec, 2005.

Third Place Award, Bird 2005 International, Beijing Natural Culture Center, China, 2005.

Ontario Arts Council Exhibition Assistance Grant, 2004, 2000, 1998.

Canada Council for the Arts, Travel Grant, January 2004.

Malaspina Printmakers Visiting Artist, Vancouver, British Columbia, November 2003.

Kala Art Institute Fellowship, Berkeley, California, 2003 (6 month residency).

Vermont Studio Center Fellowship, Johnson, Vermont. November 2002.

Emerging Artist Scholarship, Open Studio, Toronto, Ontario, 2000-2001.

Ernst and Young Purchase Award, TOAE, Toronto, Ontario, 2000, 1997.

Honorable Mention: The Great Canadian Print Competition, July 2000.

Artist in Residence–CAC, North Adams, Massachusetts, 1996-2000.

Artist in Residence, The Frans Masereel Center, Kasterlee Belgium, January 1999.

Original Print Purchase Award, Atelier GF, TOAE, Toronto, Ontario, 1998.

Artist in Residence, St. Micheal’s Printshop, St. John’s Newfoundland, March 1998.

Nick Novak Scholarship, Open Studio, Toronto, Ontario,1997.

Ontario Arts Council Grant, Emerging Career Project Grant, 1997.



primary email: taralcooper@hotmail.com

Fine Arts Department
East Campus Hall Room 1110
University of Waterloo
200 University Avenue West
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada N2L 3G1

phone: 519-888-4567 x31331
email: tlcooper@uwaterloo.ca