Sunday, November 22, 2009

if you can't say something intelligent, don't say anything at all. not a maxim to be obeyed in certain cases

Monica Cook's show is on the verge of closing at Marcia Wood Gallery (November 28, to be exact) and it needs even more analytical study than it has thus far received.

The newest works in Cook's oeuvre are far more complex than I can tackle at this point, indeed obscurely Swiftian in her tangles of slender and corpulent naked females...though the one shown with lilliputian figures is anything but a feminine version of Lemuel Gulliver. Thomasine Bradford, thou should'st be living at this hour. But you're not, and whether Drs. McClintock and/or Richmond will step forward, or a number of other writers I can think of, I am far from certain. Dr. Cullum makes no hypothesis.

The sheer allure of painterly renderings of physical texture in Cook's depiction of naked women entangled in tentacles or smeared with glorious foodstuffs is another matter. This is a Freudian feast of material celebration, probably going in directions I am not qualified to pursue beyond the triumph of painting involved.

Cook is, in some ways, accomplishing in painting a continuation of the incipient investigations that the too-early-gone Helen Chadwick accomplished in photography. I still recall vividly my sense of astonished shock at the encounter with "Of Mutability" produced in 1986, and my pleased feeling of discomfiture at all of Chadwick's subsequent studies of bodily limits and art based on bodily emissions (which, so far, Cook has approached only symbolically).

Views of "Monica Cook: Seeded and Soiled" are currently available at and the works themselves are, as I have remarked, on view through November 28.

1 comment:

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