David Richard Contemporary is pleased to present Venetian, an exhibition of recent paintings by Michael Cook. Three distinct groups of work will be presented: landscapes, clouds and abstractions referred to as “id.” The paintings challenge how we see by layering vertical hard-edged stripes over very subtle figurative abstractions. The vertical stripes function much like Venetian blinds on a window, to partially obfuscate and shield the view, both in a physical and illusory way by causing a multitude of optical effects that change based upon the viewer’s position and distance relative to each painting. Thus, forcing the viewer to look between the Venetian blinds and focus on the imagery below, to go beyond the optical effects of the blinds, making our minds and memories do the work to fill in the missing information and to provide a complete view. The painting technique combined with the specific location of the landscapes, as well as the daily news and advertising inspired imagery in the “id” series, provides a deeper conceptual underpinning for the work beyond the visual and optical exercises of actually seeing a physical locale. In this body of work, Cook combines place with object in a way that is aesthetic, yet provides a provocative snapshot of contemporary culture.
Michael Cook has had more than 20 individual exhibitions and his work has been included in numerous group shows in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Cambridge and New York. His artwork has been extensively reviewed and included in many publications, private collections and the permanent collections of The New Museum of Contemporary Art (New York), Museum of Modern Art (New York), San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art and The Albuquerque Museum of Art and History, among others. Cook is a respected educator and lecturer and has held faculty positions at University of Illinois, University of California, Berkeley and San Francisco Art institute. Currently, Cook is a Professor of Art at the University of New Mexico. He lives and works in the Albuquerque area.
The exhibition will be accompanied by an on-line catalog with an essay by Chip Ware, currently the Raymond Jonson Curator at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque.