Donnie Copeland (b. 1977, Greenville, SC) studied painting at the University of Dallas (MFA) and at Ouachita Baptist University (BA). For the last several years Copeland has worked primarily with painted paper to produce non-objective, collaged canvases that emphasize pattern, texture, color and mark. Copeland’s works are a synthesis of the visuality of landscapes such as planted fields and prairie that run along the rivers of Arkansas as well as that of peoples and cultures local and distant, rural and urban. His work has been exhibited in Arkansas and beyond including exhibits in Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, and the United Kingdom.
Left: Speaking at Life in Deep Ellum about Interrupted Paths
Catalog excerpt from Boundary Hunters exhibit, Alfred, NY
“Bent curvilinear bands are painted on paper and then affixed to the canvas which in turn serves as a platform for the abstractions. There is a definitive point of distinction between the paper, paint and canvas. Copeland’s paintings suggest cross-sections of ambiguous natural forms or… geological structures and sedimentary materials. Through his investigation of charcoal, acrylic and paper, Copeland’s lyrical strata emerge as both rich and detached. The worked-over surface of the collage elements contradicts the austerity of the pristine canvases.”
Eric Sutphin, Boundary Hunters: Four Parts to Every Story. Exhibit Catalog, 2012.
See the catalog, https://issuu.com/rachaelw25/docs/bhcatalog
Right: Making STR 57
I included this video because I wanted to give some insight to the viewer as to how I make my work. Even though this piece is from a much earlier moment in the series than where I am currently, this part of the making of these works has remained largely the same.
On the wooden cutting board is a stack of painted paper with a drawn template of the composition I aim to make. From the stack I cut the curvy strips of paper (still stacked in layers) from which a selection is made and then adhered to a prepared canvas. This process results in the varied, striped compositions on canvas and paper like STR 57. The works vary based on the palette, the kinds of lines/paths/stripes included, the overall scale of the work, its pattern, and finally the flow and energy conveyed by the composition.