Monica Cook (‘12)
UTC Fine Arts Center, 752 Vine Street (Corner of Vine and Palmetto) Chattanooga, TN 37403
February 3 - March 19, 2015
Spring 2015 Diane Marek Series Visiting Artist, Monica Cook presents an Artist’s lecture on Tuesday, February 03, 5:30pm, Room 356 of the UTC Fine Arts Center followed by an Opening Reception. Diane Marek Visiting Artist Series activities in the community and on campus February 02 – February 06, 2015. This exhibition and all Diane Marek Series events are open to the public. Admission is free. And Gallery II: UTC Lillian B. Feinstein Scholarship Award Recipients Exhibition featuring Brooke Craig and Connie Millsaps.
February 03, 2015 - March 19, 2015
Monica Cook’s thorough attention to detail and surface, texture, opacity, and luminosity, developed during her years as a figurative painter. These same characteristics now dramatically enliven her articulated sculptural forms that also serve as personified performers in Cook’s stop motion animated narratives. Conceptually woven around themes of nurturance and healing, procreation and life, decay and regeneration, Cook’s work alludes to a magnificent cycle, not just of life as we might know it, but of the primal mystery and mythic sense of an enduring consciousness of being.
Cook employs materials common to a sculptor’s studio such as wire armatures, plaster, paper clay, polyester resin, silicone, and various other commercial modeling products. These are augmented with craft store goods such as acrylic paint, beads, glass balls, fabric, and fur. Yet to fully express her imagined characters and narratives, large quantities of common and not-so-common objects are discovered on the streets, in junk shops, and on internet sites providing such as bags of life-like vintage glass prosthetic eyeballs and porcelain and metal teeth, a case of plastic fly swatters that become the wings and tails of birds, and dozens of identical chrome hair dryers which provide the propulsion system for a sculptural vehicle that resembles a spaceship or lunar rover.
Cook’s conjuring begins with her careful and attentive construction of life-scale human-like and animal characters, imbuing them with anatomical detail, exquisite jeweled surfaces and striking imperfections, costume, and attributes of persona. Then in constructing a world which they can inhabit, of carriages and carts for their travel, odd and familiar devices for communication, fruit bearing plants and fountains of milk for their sustenance, these creatures begin to find purpose in the larger scheme of Cook’s developing screenplay. The final step is giving them life through motion in the laborious process of stop frame photography that captures minute changes in position of eye and mouth and limb. When these frames are edited and compiled, and played at speed, the sculptural “actors” express themselves without dialogue through gesture and facial features. At that point, it is difficult to deny their earnest believability in the tale that they unfold.
The anatomical details and biological processes of Cook’s creatures create an unsettling tension, yet their tenderness and motivations of care and protection allow our full identification. Theirs’ is a realm somewhere between Aesop’s Fables, Planet of the Apes, and Space Odyssey, a combination of past, present, and future; but their story is truly and magically ours. While these “actor sculptures” take the form of animals and humanoids that are not quite human, their sense of humanity is undeniably universal.
In this exhibition the Cress will feature the full stop motion animation “Volley”, 2011, from Cook’s last completed project; the sculptures for “Milk Fruit”, 2013; and color stills from the in-progress 2015 stop motion animation “Milk Fruit”.
The work in this exhibition appears courtesy of Postmasters Gallery, New York, NY, and courtesy of the private collection of Joshua Rechnitz, New York, NY. For more information about Monica Cook visitwww.monicacookart.com andwww.postmastersart.com
A native of Dalton, Ga., Monica Cook received her BFA from Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah, Ga. She further studied in the off-campus program of the Savannah College of Art and Design in New York City, the Studio Residency Program of the School of the Visual Arts, New York City, and the Residency Program of the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Madison, Maine. Cook recalls that during her high school years in Dalton, she would regularly drive the 45 minute trip to Chattanooga to participate in the Tuesday night life drawing community cooperative, a long tradition that still meets in the Department of Art at UTC, and she notes the importance of that opportunity to the progress of her career. Her work has appeared in many group exhibitions nationwide and in Germany, Denmark, Croatia, and Canada. Solo exhibitions include those at Marcia Wood Gallery, Atlanta, Ga., and Postmasters Gallery, New York City, the latter of which currently represents her. Cook’s work is included in numerous private and public collections and was recently acquired by the 21
Century Museum Hotel Collection, Louisville, KY. Monica Cook lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. In addition to her studio practice, she teaches at the New York Academy of Art in New York City.