Diana Cooper is an explorer of situational geometry, tromping through airports, galleries, golf courses and stadiums, and finding rich patterns generated by banal details. In the past, she’s arranged multitudes of minuscule objects in a way that conveyed traffic patterns and Venn diagrams. But in more recent years, she’s used a camera to create worlds more wide-ranging and challenging than any of her previous installations.
The results aren’t exactly photographs, nor are they two-dimensional. Instead, Cooper juxtaposes contrasting images, building up multilayered friezes as if they were the Elgin Marbles. In Untitled (garbage/mesh), she stacks picture upon picture of crushed cans, shredded paper and plastic doodads—all found in China—into a dynamic assemblage that crawls up the wall. Undercover starts with a cloverleaf of outdoor walkways in Orlando, then adds photos of crinkled aluminum, hanging plants and gray skies to confuse the separation between indoors and out. Cooper is thinking about space and its impact on viewers, never more so than in Audience, an amalgam of images showing rows of seats at the Daytona Speedway.
Cooper similarly transforms the gallery itself, applying life-size photomurals of the building’s skylights to the walls, creating the illusion of breaking through the Sheetrock and letting in sunlight. There are also lifelike re-creations of air ducts, surveillance cameras, monitors and floor mats. Taken as a whole, these additions generate a convincing rearrangement of Postmasters’ interior. When coupled with her installations, these hyperreal illusions turn the entire exhibition space into a kaleidoscope of architectural details, endlessly mesmerizing and disorienting. Cooper’s intention is to make us feel off-balance, forcing us to frame our surroundings in new ways.