Strojich Fellow – Paula Cooley
Paula Cooley is a full-time clay artist, from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Born and raised in southern Ontario, Paula moved to the Prairies where she was introduced to clay. Paula proceeded to complete her Diploma in Ceramics at SIAST and then her B.F.A at the University of Saskatchewan. Paula’s work has been juried into numerous provincial and national exhibitions. She has pieces in several permanent public collections including the Saskatchewan Arts Board and the Mann Art Gallery. Paula holds Professional Craftsperson Status with the Saskatchewan Craft Council and sells her work through juried craft markets as well as retail stores.
My ceramic practice takes inspiration from the natural world. I want my clay pieces to suggest the vitality of plants, water etc. but not serve as literal representations. Instead I want my organic sculptures to look as if they are mutating organisms or evolving formations, the curious and unusual products of natural selection and possibly human intervention. I strive to make work that is sensuous and elegant yet tinged with the grotesque. I wish my sculptures to be enigmatic and encourage dynamic, open ended associations.
I work intuitively and I never know how a piece will look until it is finished. I start with an idea and/or a form, construct it, react to it, modify it and so on until the sculpture is resolved. As a formalist I am interested in space, form and surface. My background and formal training in craft leads me to a careful manipulation of materials and attention to detail.
Paula Cooley is Medalta’s first Strojich Fellow, which is made possible thanks to the generous support of Ms. Gwen Strojich.