Wanda Koop (b. 1951)
Wanda Koop is widely regarded as one of Canada's most distinguished painters, a preeminent figure in contemporary Canadian art. She is best known for her inventive, monumentally-scaled works that inquire into the nature of painting while redefining landscape. Koop developed her distinctive painting technique early in her career, characterized by her distinctive use of colour built up in opaque and translucent washes of paint. Despite their size, these elegant and sometimes deceptively simple paintings have been called mesmerizing and intimate, the latter a description applied by the artist herself. Wanda Koop is also renowned for her performance and video art, with their concomitant inventiveness and artistic exploration.
Wanda Koop has participated in over 60 solo exhibitions over the span of her career, including major exhibitions in Canada, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Germany, India, Brazil, China, Japan, and at the Venice Biennale in 2001. Her work has been featured in numerous publications including Artforum, Art Papers, Border Crossings, Canadian Art, frieze and MOMUS, as well as in two documentary films. In 2010, the National Gallery of Canada and the Winnipeg Art Gallery joined together to present a major retrospective of her work. Committed to community development, Koop founded Art City in 1998, a storefront art centre for inner-city Winnipeg youth at risk. In 1993, she co-created the Rotterdam Apartment Cooperative to help Canadian artists live and work in the Netherlands, with additional residences in Canada for Dutch artists.
Koop is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal and the Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts. She was appointed a Member of the Order of Manitoba and, in 2006, was made a Member of the Order of Canada. She holds honorary doctorates from Emily Carr University of Art and Design in Vancouver, the University of Winnipeg and the University of Manitoba. Her work is held in many public and private collections, including the National Gallery of Canada, the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, the Winnipeg Art Gallery, the Shanghai Museum of Modern Art, the Reykjavik Museum and the Dallas Museum of Art.