The painter turned weaver creating paintings within, rather than on, canvas.
Cook began making dyed artworks, comprised of dyed and bleached pieces of canvas, creating a work not by adding elements to canvas but rather by changing what the canvas was itself. The canvas became not only the base for Cook’s paintings but also the subject of them.
Cook’s investigation of the canvas as both artistic media and subject led him to inquire into its physical construction, with Cook learning to weave and construct canvases himself.
His solo show at American Contemporary last year gave him the chance to exhibit his self-made canvases alongside mechanically constructed ones, onto which he painted.
“I now see the loom as a canvas printer — as with a printer, there is error involved, those errors in the canvas become the gestures and the artist’s hand and mark making. I present the pieces I make on the loom sewn together with store bought canvas to highlight these tiny gestures that come out of the weaving process.” — Ethan Cook (Interview Magazine)
This exhibition offered Cook the chance to juxtapose his handcrafted and inherently flawed canvas creations with those produced that were mechanically produced to perfection.
Thus, through his minimalist compositions Cook plays the human against the machine to examine not only the presence of human error, but how we as viewers view and value this trace of humanity in art.
Ethan Cook lives and works in New York City. He had a solo show at American Contemporary in New York City and has also shown at the National Museum of Capodimonte in Naples, Paul Kasmin at Middlemarch in Brussles, Roberts & Tilton in Los Angeles and The Hole in New York City.
You can acquire an Ethan Cook piece now on artlist.co.
This post was written with the help of Alice Mahoney.