We are proud to present a solo show by the New York-based artist Ethan Cook. For the first time he combines painted, ready-made canvases, with hand-woven canvases, made from pre-colored cotton threads. This development marks a significant step in the artist’s practice, based on rules and systems.
Cook’s reduced visual language shifts the focus to the color fields and irregularities in the surface: the hand-woven areas reveal errors, which occur during the loom’s repetitious process, whilst the uniform, machine-made canvas is interrupted by clean and solid brush strokes. Thus the grid-like structures of both materials are destabilized by marks and gestures, undetermined by the artist’s inner life and mood, but rather by the principle of the systems involved. Subsequently the irregularities directly reference the process-based production and the material ground of the picture plane, which they map.
“Through sets you can communicate time, perception, and logic.” – Ethan Cook
Owing to the time consuming nature of weaving, Cook selects the colors mixed by the cotton mill and paint manufacturer, before making decisions about composition and scale. Therefore his use of color is non-hierarchical and each color field created becomes a fragment of the final work. Following the weaving and painting process, these are laid out on the ground and sewn together, adhering to a particular compositional system. The edges of the stretched canvas are then hidden within the frame, enclosing the archive of labor. Consequently the production process becomes Cook’s subject; every finished work reveals a finite set of information and thus is its own logical equation.
Cook’s horizontal and vertical compositions and his use of color allude to a non-verbal mode of communication. Each work is a site of engagement, confronting the viewer and inviting a dialogue. Although Cook usually works in series, all the canvases in the exhibition are dissimilar and independent from one another: different sizes, color palettes and compositions. Each work reveals varying degrees of density and thus different cadence. Visual polyrhythms are created, which bestow the works with inner tension and fabricate unique atmospheres. Each work encapsulates a different time frame, experienced in the present moment.