Lecturer, Art History & Theory
Dr Melanie Cooper is a visual artist and art historian specialising in eighteenth-century visual art and culture. Her studio practice crosses the fields of painting, drawing and textiles. As a non-representational painter with an interest in memory and place, her work represents a rumination on experience and intuitive response.
She graduated from North Adelaide School of Art in 1997 and was awarded a PhD in Art History form the University of Adelaide in 2017. She also holds a Masters degree in Art History (2009) and completed a research fellowship with the Architecture Museum in the School of Art, Architecture and Design at the University of South Australia in 2010. Melanie is currently a Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Adelaide where she has tutored and lectured on a range of subjects including Art in the Age of Enlightenment, Censorship and Iconoclasm.
Melanie’s studio practice crosses the fields of painting, drawing and textiles. As a non-representational painter with an interest in memory and place, her work represents a rumination on experience and intuitive response. More recently, this approach to her practice has become further inspired by elements of landscape and natural forms. On graduating from art school, Melanie sustained her practice by working as a freelance mural painter and was a co-founder of 8 ply on the Sly. Exhibiting widely, Melanie’s work is held in collections nationally and internationally.
As an active member of the arts and academic community, Melanie is currently serving as state representative for AAANZ (Art Association of Australia and New Zealand) and is a committee member of AHCAN (Art History and Curatorship Alumni Network). She was also the inaugural postgraduate representative elected to the executive committee of ANZECS (Australian and New Zealand Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies).
Melanie’s doctoral thesis is titled Beings of Nature and Reason: Mythological Masculinities in 18th Century French Art and Visual Culture and her research reflects an enduring interest in mythology, early modern theories of evolution and naturalism, gender, and sexuality. She has presented her work at several local and interstate conferences and seminars and is published in online formats including fine print and Cerae: An Australasian Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies and TAASA ReviewThe Journal of The Asian Arts Society, Special Issue: Islamic Art in Australia. Her most recent chapter titled ‘Meeting the locals: Mythical Images of the Indigenous Other in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries,’ is soon to appear in eds. Jennifer Milam and Nicola Parsons, Making Ideas Visible in the Eighteenth Century (University of Delaware Press).
Visit her website here