Monica Cook's paintings are uncomfortably beautiful. Walking around her current show at the Marcia Wood Gallery, you might have the feeling that you've interrupted something very personal and very real. Her nearly-life-size, photo realistic portraits stare back at you from curiously debaucherous scenes. The effect is as disquieting as it is mesmerizing. In Seeded and Soiled, women gorge on a feast of octopus, pomegranites, fish, and watermelon. Hundreds of identical women brawl with one another and attack a giant person that gives them a Lilliputian scale.
Ms. Cook was kind enough to respond to a few questions about the show. Her answers, some images, and info from the gallery after the jump.
Can you describe your process?
The process for the drawings and paintings are very similar. I begin with a photo documented, private performance. I start with a vague idea, while interacting with the chosen objects during the preformance the idea develops. I picked food for the paintings because it closely resembles flesh, an extension of the flesh. In the midst of these these explorations I try to make these ordinary substances or objects new to me, foreign to me, to reinvent them. That experience is what I try to translate through these paintings and drawings. A large part of the painting/drawing evolves during the process of the photo shoot, how I or the model interact with the material or object given.
Are you particularly influenced or inspired by other artists?
Most recently I have been looking to Francis Bacon, Hans Bellmer, Henry Darger, Jenny Saville, Berlinde de Bruyckere, Folkert de Jong, Neo Rauch, John Currin, Otto Dix, George Grosz, Ivan Albright, Balthus, Géricault, Delacroix, Durer ...
Who is the woman that appears so often in your paintings?
Me. From my statement for the show:
Although I modeled for these paintings, I do not consider them self portraits. I assume the role of an actress, portraying something larger than my persona. The work speaks of the humor in our battle with ignorance, the glamour of inexperience and the heroism of our accomplishments despite our fears. Sometimes shining a light on our glittering underbellies, naively poking at the skin of our yolk. They wrestle with debauchery and virtue, control and liberation, logic and absurdity- the beauty and repulsion inherent in each of these extremes and the magnificent struggle in our search for balance.
Seeded and Soiled at Marcia Wood Gallery, Oct. 22 - Nov. 28, 2009
Open Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday 11 am - 6 pm -- Wednesday, Friday 1 - 6 pm
Marcia Wood Gallery 263 Walker Street Atlanta, Georgia 30313
4 0 4 - 8 2 7 - 0 0 3 0 email@example.com
Images: Marcia Wood Gallery
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