VT’s Prospective Gallery offering online version of artist’s ‘Medicine Show’ exhibit

Prospective Gallery’s mission is to pique student creativity and to enrich the college experience.

Virginia Tech’s Perspective Gallery, under the direction of Art Program Director Robin Scully, has opened an online version of artist Lauren Cooper’s exhibition titled “Medicine Show.”

Titled Womanly Alchemy 2020, this painting is an mage of an alchemist’s still being heated over a fire within a womanly dark shape. It is meant to be a metaphor for the everyday alchemy that women work in the world.

Prospective Gallery’s mission is to pique student creativity through the exhibition of fine arts. The role of Perspective Gallery is to enrich the college experience by thought-provoking art exhibitions, programs, and collaborations. The gallery is located at 225 Squires Student Center on the Virginia Tech campus.

Cooper’s exhibit was installed just as the lockdown of the coronavirus kicked in. Scully said she has opened the exhibit on line because “We wanted everyone to have the opportunity to see this amazing work as we spend time at home.”

The exhibit may be viewed online through the link <http://campuslife.vt.edu/medicineshow> or on the gallery’s website www.perspectivegallery.org. It features an in-depth view of Cooper’s work, along with text she wrote about each piece.

Cooper received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the State University of New York at Purchase 1983 with a major in painting and a minor in drawing. After graduation, her life took a turn towards the practical and she earned a living working jobs as a cook, bread baker, organic gardener and groom on an Arabian horse farm.  Her visual art has been influenced by these formative experiences, including early explorations with psychotropic plants, which deepened her connection to the natural and supernatural world and led to the creation of art with an animistic point of view.

In 1991 Lauren and her husband, Andrew, moved to an old chestnut log home in Blacksburg and started a certified organic vegetable and medicinal herb farm.  Their business, Greenstar Farm and Apothecary, has become a fixture and a successful model at the Blacksburg Farmers Market. Cooper is a registered professional herbalist with the American Herbalist’s Guild who provides consultations and plant medicines to her community.

Cooper said, “My work as an artist and as an herbalist remain intimately connected, with healing being the goal.” Of the “Medicine Show” exhibit, she said it “seeks to highlight the visual arts blending seamlessly into a daily living pattern, one where the artist’s life is inextricable from the art forms created.

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