Courttney Cooper draws large elaborate and exuberant maps of Cincinnati, by hand, from memory. Gluing together pieces of found paper from his job at a grocery store, Cooper’s obsessive drawings, rendered with ballpoint pens, map out neighborhoods in his hometown in remarkable detail. He often walks the streets of the city, committing all the places he visits down to memory, a process that he has been using since he was a child. His maps depict more than just streets and monuments, often addressing the season in which it was made, current events and projects going on locally, like the WEBN fireworks or Oktoberfest or the Taste of Cincinnati, even going back into the drawings to update them when new buildings are constructed or torn down. Throughout the sprawling maps are written thoughts and phrases hidden beneath the landscape and revealed within the open white space of the paper, as noted in Matt Morris’ review on artforum.com: “But the party above belies the social tensions below: Gradually, one notices scrawled writing layered underneath Cooper’s landscapes, the text erupting in the blank passages of the streets.”
Cooper’s solo show at Intuit: The Center for Intuit and Outsider Art in Chicago in spring of 2016 was reviewed in artforum.com and New City. His 2-person show (with Cole Carothers) at The Cincinnati Art Museum in 2013 was reviewed in CityBeat and AEQAI and he has exhibited extensively in the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky area including the Contemporary Art Center and The Carnegie Visual and Performing Arts Center, Covington, KY and is a studio resident at Visionaries + Voices, a non-profit arts organization that provides support for artists with disabilities, offering them professional studio space and that allows them to grow professionally and personally. His work at Western Exhibitions’ booth at the 2017 Outsider Art Fair was lauded in artnet and Brut Force. Cooper is the recipient of a 2015 Wyn Newhouse award. He is represented by Western Exhibitions, Chicago.