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Melissa Cowper-Smith

Fleeting Gardens


Fleeting Gardens, featuring work by Melissa Cowper-Smith was on display at BAAC's Gallery on Main from March 10 - April 25, 2015. 


The show was comprised of digital prints on handmade cotton paper that Cowper-Smith has grown at her farm, Wildland Gardens. In addition to the prints, the show featured two projected video animations. For this work, Cowper-Smith photographed small Arkansas farms, rural interiors, and objects. She then created a series of paintings based on the photographs. She used digital tools to blend and juxtapose the painting and photography to create the prints and video animations.


Cowper-Smith's work is about grasping fragments of time-- both in the landscape and in her own memory. She feels as though she can return to places in her mind, but when she thinks about a place in detail she is aware that her memory is made from more than a single moment. Furthermore, Cowper-Smith is aware that no place is still-- the landscape is constantly moving and ever-shifting. More than ever we are aware that our landscapes are changing rapidly, through suburban sprawl, industrial agriculture, and dramatic weather events caused by climate change. Cowper-Smith's work expresses our contemporary environmental anxiety-- we are trying to hold onto remembered landscapes even as they vanish. In these works, she blends transitional points of view, illustrating how memories are composites of many experiences with no single perspective. She use gestural and dripping paint marks to represent time passing, and the obscurity of moments past.  By blending many forms of representation in a digital print, or digital video, Cowper-Smith juxtaposes media originating in multiple eras, held together in a single work. 









Melissa Cowper-Smith was born in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. She received a BFA in painting from the University of Victoria in British Columbia before moving to New York City to complete an MFA at Hunter College. In 2001 she received the Helen Pitt Award (Vancouver Foundation) and in 2005 she was awarded the Carolyn David Horowitz Fund (Hunter College). She is a founding member of tART, an all female art-collective based in New York City. Between 2006-2011 she exhibited her work with tART and in 2010 she edited tART zine vol. 2. In 2013, she founded a second all-female collective, Show & Tell, based in Arkansas. She has exhibited in several NYC galleries, including A.I.R., The Rabbit Hole Gallery, Ernest Rubenstein Gallery, Work Gallery, Sweet Lorraine Gallery, and the Bronx Art Exchange. Her outdoor public works have been exhibited through Art-Bridge and The Billboard Art Project. Melissa is currently making art focused on agricultural landscapes, teaching art, and developing farm shares to feed local families through Wildland Gardens.


Learn more about Cowper-Smith's work at


Check out our Exhibition Schedule to view all upcoming exhibitions.

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