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    Complete archive, 1999-present

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  • 3


    Complete archive, 1999-present


      Pool, Carmel, California, May 22, 1999: 10:30 am in Mariana Cook
       Courtesy Mitchell-Innes & Nash
      Pool, Carmel, California, May 22, 1999: 10:30 am
    Magic carpets and flags of light

    The observable moment is framed with rhythm and hues in the photos of Mariana Cook.


    Like an avant film noir illuminating the dog days with flickering nostalgia and elegance, Mariana Cook's black and white gelatin silver prints seek out and isolate forms in a way that looks headily forward as much as her medium pulls us pleasantly back. What is an object in relationship to its space? How does the artist zero in on a pattern — or frame an arbitrary construct? Using a carefully crafted lexicon, Cook captures a latent essence in her compositions.

    Photographs by: Mariana Cook.
    July 13 - August 20, 2004

    Gallery: Mitchell-Innes & Nash
    1018 Madison Ave., 5th floor
    New York NY
    Hours: Tues.-Sat. 10-5
    Phone: (212) 744-7400

    Cook has said that her teacher, Ansel Adams (from 1978 until his death in 1984), "gave me my language, my craft. He taught me how to express my feelings in an image. " These photos are part of an ongoing series that Cook takes from the life around her — a vase on an end table — an eggplant in the kitchen — a flower stand in the rain. The uniform three foot squares, enhance the centrality of each image and presents the subject with a hierarchical force. In "Vase," the form and pattern is abstracted into a sun by looking straight down on it at close range. Looking straight up in "Clouds, Lambert's Cove," the lens takes in a sky dappled and daubed from edge to edge with monotonously wondrous clouds. "Eggplant," shot close to the top, suggests alternate identities such as a nipple or a floating lotus pad. This is part of the allure Cook conjures up through her unique vantages of ordinary objects. The viewers are able to "cook up" their own interpretations.

      Construction Tarp, New York City, October 3, 1999 in Mariana Cook
       Courtesy Mitchell-Innes & Nash
      Construction Tarp, New York City, October 3, 1999
    The racing line in "Pool" cuts a bold diagonal under the wrinkled glassy surface. With its fragmented cubist effects, this work exemplifies the painterliness of the photographer. The black tiles are distorted by shimmering water as light hugs the contours of the water's gray surface. At times, the grays take on the subtle weight of graphite and the works echo drawings by Agnes Martin and Vija Celmins. In "Geometric Light on Wall," a close inspection reveals the texture of the stone in gray verisimilitude. Likewise, in "Vase," the slight difference in tones between the negative space of the vase's pattern and the black background add a rich depth.

    The most recent print, "Light In Form of Flag," Antigua, West Indies, offers a timely prescience and relates to the intrinsic symbolism of art.  

    Cook transforms images with her focus. In "Flowers Behind Plastic," New York City, from 2001, a rainy sheet of crimped plastic protects some flowers at a store. The play of light, from the nearly transparent raindrops to the reflections and the flowers behind, is a symphony of detail. The strong horizontal line formed by the obscured blooms, is given rhythmic weight by the reflections from the street. Further, these lines set off the verticals and diagonals of the rain and plastic. Another work that focuses on found patterns, is "Tarps." A series of tarps tied together to form a wall, reads like the interlocking forms of Franz Kline or Robert Motherwell. The most recent print, "Light In Form of Flag," Antigua, West Indies, offers a timely prescience and relates to the intrinsic symbolism of art as suggested by the title. Further, the association to fabric is a point of entry. It's like a beach towel on the sand... or a flying carpet gliding effortlessly through the infinite recesses of representation.

    AUGUST 18, 2004

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