Australian Fine Artist

Annika Koops

Visiting Artist at TAFE Wednesday 13th March 2013

Topic: Portraits and the Human Figure using a mix of new technology with Traditional Themes and Mediums

Annika’s web site is a little short on biographical info but below is some of her introduction.

Born 1983 / Lives and works in Melbourne. Represented by Nellie Castan Gallery Melbourne and Bett Gallery, Hobart.


2011 MFA Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne
2005 Graduated First Class Honours Bachelor Fine Art Honours Victorian College of the Arts
2001-2003 University of Tasmania, Bachelor of Fine Arts

I have taken a little text written in Annika’s web site for  one of her exhibitions to briefly explain her artwork. For the rest please go to her website at

“Taking the fruits of technological advancements from the virtual realm into the palpable but illusory space of painting, Koops’s work establishes a connection between them as sites invested not only in representation but in re-engaging the historical. Photography in this regard might be understood as a bridging device, having a foot in either medium as it were.”


I was impressed by Annika’s confidence in presenting her work. She had an air of confidence which in a way defied her age, which I was guessing was in her late twenties. She has exhibited widely and has received several awards and grants.

Her mix of multi media, by use of photography, computer software and traditional methods of oil painting is another step in incorporating more “tools” into the production of art.

Some may shy away from this, saying that it is not true fine art. If we look into history however, we would see that various methods and tools (technologies) have been used in the past. We can see this in the paintings from the 17th and 18th Centuries which is why a lot of people look left handed. We then go on to the use of the camera and how it enabled artists to really see how various things worked (horses in action for example). Artists have been for and against these for many years, some artists even sway from for to against in their own careers.

Whether you like Annika’s work or not, her imaginative use of technology for production of her artworks is interesting and something to think about. We should not dismiss any method as not for us, because in the future we may just change our minds.

Admittedly, her style is not one that attracts me too much. The solitude of her subjects and the emptiness of her created spaces have a sense of sadness and melancholy for me.

Whilst appreciating the skill to produce them, I have trouble connecting with them on any deep emotional level. I liked her glazing technique, which is reminiscent of the paintings from as early as da Vinci but the mix between realist and the “plastic” veneer of avatars from computer games is not really for me. Then again I don’t play computer games like World of Warcraft etc and don’t tend to look at them for artistic content.

The works that looked a little like scratchboard works were interesting. They were in fact oil paintings of a sort but the modelling with lines into a dark background looked more traditional and more like drawing and painting techniques that I could relate to.

The works installed in Bristol with light streaming through loads of little holes in a dark canvas or board were quite striking and innovative. Whilst keeping the designs simple, to make sure it would fit the ornate architecture around them, interesting patterns were created.

We had a brief follow up session after the presentation. It was said that whether or not you like the visiting artist’s work, seeing and listening to others’ approach to their art will help us form opinions about our own style, direction etc.

Some descriptions about Annika’s work were:

  1. Computer Generated World
  2. Interactive Games
  3. Stiff
  4. Plastic
  5. Colourless
  6. Cold
  7. Disconnected
  8. All Human Imperfections Removed
  9. Blurring the Distinction between the “Real” and “Unreal”
  10. Separation
  11. Solitude
  12. Impersonal Impression

We were asked to consider the following as ask ourselves:

  1. How has the artist’s work informed my own work and sensibility? IE: How have my ideas about my work and the world changed?
    I don’t think it has. I have a good idea of the general direction I wish to go in. It is not the same as hers. I took note of her work ethics which are not that dissimilar to mine.
  2. How has this artist’s work informed my view of society and culture?
    I have worked with computers since 1988. I have seen it change the printing industry, advertising and the way we bank, play, shop and socialise. I have also noticed that as we mature we tend to look for more “personal interaction” and our interests and priorities change even with computers all over the place. They are becoming just another part of life, and I think will soon seamlessly blend into our daily activities. The distancing of some to solitary lives with just a screen in front of them is an extension of the world becoming disconnected in one way and connected in another. Some would see it as people who would not normally reach out doing so with the aid of the web for instance, others would say that it is the cause of people becoming isolated.
    Computers and the web for me are aids to an end. Another means to advertise, promote, network with artists all over the world I wouldn’t normally get to meet and get feedback about my art. It also allows me to keep in touch with some who are a distance away and learn. Seeing technology today being used as further aids to creative productivity isn’t new, just the methods are. I don’t know that Annika brought any new views to my thinking, she may have just confirmed that others had similar thoughts.

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