These complex works of paper manipulation are the origami masterpieces of artist Joel Cooper. Each piece is designed and folded from a single sheet of paper without the use of cuts or glue. Cooper employs a specific style of origami called tessellation. Before he can even begin to design his personable masks, an elaborate grid must first be folded into a hexagon-shaped piece of paper. The weave of geometric forms that mold the faces of Cooper’s work give testament to the intricate nature of this process.
The masks themselves are extraordinary in the distinct personalities they portray. No two masks are alike and the unique features of each convey a wide range of emotions and temperaments. They seem reminiscent of the statues of ancient Greece and Rome. Their sightless eyes gaze solemnly into the distance like a righteous god surveying their kingdom. Given the way Cooper photographs his work outdoors with only natural elements as his backdrop, it is not hard to imagine these as old monuments left from a vanished civilization waiting to be discovered.