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.
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.