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"Changing the Need : Graphites by Christopher Cook"
2001-10-17 until 2001-11-17
Hirschl Contemporary Art
London, , UK United Kingdom

These distinctive and challenging new images examine the conflict between aesthetic and organic principles. Much has now been written on the highly specific process Christopher Cook has developed over the past three years, in which graphite powder is combined with oil, resin and solvents and poured sprayed or brushed onto sheets of coated aluminium, then worked with a variety of implements.

With their extraordinary bloom, sparkle and sedimentation, the graphites blur the distinction between drawing and painting and involve themselves in the ongoing dialogue between painting and photography. In this exhibition, Cook’s concern with the nuances of his language is adapted to powerful themes arising from a recent Year of the Artist residency at the Eden Project in Cornwall.

Cook has long been interested in the post-industrial landscape. He is inspired by the forces that shape the world around us, including our human need to abuse nature, and this paradox has provoked some of his most telling metaphors. During the residency discussions with scientists involved in genetic tagging and modification gave a scale to this theme that tallied with the evolving working methods.

One constant of Cooks process has been a delight in (and a need for) the accidental and coincidental, and although these graphites demonstrate a closer technical allegiance to self-organising systems, the defining moments are as unpredictable and as dislocating as ever. Such moments restate his belief in the human imagination even as the images challenge the hasty exploitation of the physical world.

Christopher Cook studied at the University of Exeter and the Royal College of Art. He has exhibited regularly in the UK, Germany, Holland, and recently in Australia, following a residency at the Bundanon Trust in New South Wales. One of the new graphite works was a prizewinner at the last John Moores Liverpool exhibition. Cook’s work is held in collections including the British Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. This exhibition is in part a selection from a major 2001 touring show to the Ferens Art Gallery, Hull and the Towner Art Gallery, Eastbourne.

An illustrated catalogue is available, with text by Roy Exley, and poems by Tony Lopez made in response to the images.


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