Mellie Cooper graduated from the Pratt Institute where she completed a Masters of the Fine Arts degree in sculpture. Her work is represented at the Janis Aldridge Gallery where she has exhibited for sixteen years. Cooper’s artwork is interdisciplinary, combining techniques of sculpture, printmaking, painting, and collage resulting in a painting on paper, which explores the boundaries between fine art and craft as well as other related areas like natural history. “Mellie very carefully chooses the themes for her work through the absorption of imagery, and an appropriation of ideas which are a kind of visual reinvention reminiscent of the way Velasquez borrowed from Titian or Caravaggio borrowed from Michelangelo.” (Sharon Lorenzo, Inquirer and Mirror, July 22, 2004)
The process Mellie employs to create her three dimensional paper assemblages involves the creation of a primary mold, used to create a secondary mold by building layers of liquid latex. Paper pulp is then pressed into the latex mold. Once the paper pulp dries it is peeled from the mold and painted using diluted acrylic.
Mellie works with the idea of the frame within the frame in her art works to highlight and glorify her various appropriated images and themes. Additionally the collaboration between Aldridge and Cooper further adds the dimension of Aldridge’s exquisite matting and framing to Cooper’s work contrasting effectively with the illusionary framing devices of shells, rope, and quilt borders.