Helen Maurene Cooper's work is driven by personal connection and building relationships with community. She is an artist who uses numerous photographic processes along with installation and publication to connect and build relationships, explore feminism, entrepreneurship, small economies, the power of adornment, and intimacy.
Since 2008, her worked has been focused on place- based exploration, specifically within beauty- centered communities in Chicago. Subjects have included custom made prom dresses, drag queen culture, and the specialty minority-owned nail businesses of Chicago’s west side.
She has received funding for exhibitions through the University of Chicago, the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Council of Eindhoven, Netherlands. Her work has been reviewed by the Chicago Tribune, New City, International Forum for Contemporary Visual Arts, New York Photo review, Temporary Art Review and Bust.com.
Her monograph, Paint & Polish, Cultural Economy and Visual Culture from the West Side, Onomatopee, Eindhoven Netherlands, debuts in 2017 with an accompanying exhibition in the Netherlands in May.