Berman Museum

Kristen Cooney 2020

Kristen Cooney is the recipient of The Richard Goldberg Award. Endowed by the late Dr. Richard Goldberg ’58, and his family, friends, and colleagues, awarded to the student exhibiting a sensitive interpretation of an artistic vision in the Annual Student Exhibition.

The Blossom Mandala series was also chosen by Myrin Library as the newest addition to the Myrin Library Student Art Collection.

The Blossom Mandala

The Blossom Mandala is the artist’s response to the lifestyle changes brought about by the pandemic and quarantine. The pandemic’s arrival also coincided with the shift in seasons, leaving a curious dialogue between the seasonal transition to spring—the season associated with new life—and the pandemic’s shift to that of stagnancy for those under stay at home orders. The fragility and beauty of a flower blossoming is a reflection of the themes this pandemic forces us to consider, that life is beautiful, finite, and usually full of motion. But many are now adjusting to new routines, where time and days merge with each other amongst the lack of motion, including the artist who has found solace in this period of waiting by being a daily silent observer of the motion of spring from the panes in her bedroom window.

Artist Profile
  • Major and minor, graduation year: Studio Art and Environmental Studies Major and Museum Studies Minor, Class of 2022

  • What kind of media you work in: I use a multitude of media but focus on watercolors, pen and ink, and organic materials such as plants most of the time.

  • Why do you make art: I create art because it has been a fascination of mine since I could hold a pencil. I love being creative and making sense of situations I experience in an artistic way and incorporating nature into it.

  • The artists who you find most influential and why: I find artists from the Edo Period the most influential to me. This includes individuals like Hokusai (who created The Great Wave print) and Hiroshige most inspirational. I love the way they exaggerate their line work and use decorative colors to highlight the beauty of the natural world.

  • Briefly describe a recent art-related “Aha!” moment: A recent “Aha!” moment I had was in an assignment I had for my figure drawing class. I had to create a series of self portraits but was limited on mediums as a lot of my materials are stuck at my dorm. I wanted to use pencil, but didn’t have a range of hard and soft graphites to work from. So I used a normal yellow #2 pencil which I wasn’t thrilled about at first as I didn’t think I could get a lot of deep shadows or soft light tones out if it. Turns out you can create a lot of tonal range even if you are limited to just one pencil (thanks for the recommendation Professor Pater!). I also found a new style of mine in doing this. 

Follow Kristen Cooney on Instagram @kristxn.rose