Wanda Koop is one of Canada’s most important and inventive contemporary artists. Her career spans over four decades and includes more than 50 major solo exhibitions, nationally and internationally. Most notably, the National Gallery of Canada and the Winnipeg Art Gallery exhibited a comprehensive survey of her work in 2010-2011.
Koop is known for charting new directions in painting, pushing the boundaries of presentation and display with her monumental-scale painting installations, in which she incorporates poetic video and performance work. Her practice explores scenes of urbanization, industrialization, and robotic technology as it interfaces with the natural world, asking us to reconsider imagery that is delivered to us through both cultural history and contemporary broadcast media.
The National Gallery of Canada holds a major collection of her work. Other private and museum collections include the Musée d’Art Contemporain de Montréal, the Reykjavik Museum in Iceland, the Shanghai Museum of Modern Art in China, the Caldic Collection in the Netherlands, as well as the Bank of Montreal, and the Royal Bank of Canada.
Over the course of her career, Koop has been the recipient of numerous national and international honours. Most recently she was awarded a Governor General’s Award in the Visual and Media Arts for 2016. In 2006, she was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada, in recognition of her outstanding lifetime achievement. Koop has also been honoured with the Queen’s Diamond and Golden Jubilee Medals, and is the recipient of honorary doctorates from the University of Winnipeg, the Emily Carr University of Art and Design in Vancouver, and the University of Manitoba.
In 2011, she was the subject of a critically-acclaimed film titled “KOOP,” from Site Media Inc., directed by filmmaker Katherine Knight. Koop is also well-known for her community work and social activism. In 1998, she founded Art City, a storefront art-centre, bringing together world-class contemporary visual artists and Winnipeg’s inner-city youth to explore the creative process.