In Gallery II, Goldfinch is excited to present “Second Chakra,” a solo exhibition of new paintings by Los Angeles- based artist Carrie Cook. This is Cook’s first exhibition in Chicago. The exhibition is on view from Saturday, January 14th through Saturday, February 25th.
Using a combined visual language of representation and abstraction, often achieved through unexpected cropping and perspectival distortions, Cook destabilizes the familiarity and security of everyday scenes and things—objects we assume are easily recognizable for their forms and functions, like food, table-settings, and vases. Charged with a sense of dislocation and mystery, though rooted in real-life, Cook’s work exposes overlaps between the past and present, and the unexpected associations we make through memory and intuitive gestures. The paintings in “Second Chakra” are threaded together by the color orange, which Cook explores both as the literal fruit, unfurling and changing over time, and as the essence of the “open chakra” itself: a glowing color of sun, fire, sex, intimacy, inner life, and connection.
Suspended in groundless space, the objects that Cook paints feel partially estranged from ordinary life, as though examined psychologically as well as materially. “I’m drawn to the emotive, inner, meditative, and symbolic nature of abstract work,” explains Cook, “But I follow more external breadcrumbs that I hope are making up a symbolic vocabulary.” The push-and-pull between abstraction and representation, with ordinary objects as her visual anchors, points to the artist’s interest in probing at the emotive, meditative, and even dreamlike qualities of these everyday scenes and the associations they might prompt. “It is important to me to have a very grounded-in-reality language, so a raw orange or raw steak becomes, to me, like a lung or a heart, and hopefully creates more poetic connotations that swirl around that relationship.”
In Cook’s paintings, the vibrant, fleshy fruit of an orange or the glow of a sunset in a rear-view mirror act like glowing embers in paintings that are often steeped in inky black space. “I think of a lot of my works as night scenes,” Cook notes. “I do a lot of painting at night, and I think the darks in contrast with the orange give the paintings this otherworldliness.” This balance of light and dark, as though the paintings are illuminated by the objects within them, speaks more broadly to Cook’s interest in the relationships and parallels between the external nature of an object and the mysterious, unseen spaces of its interior. In her paintings, these relationships, exchanges, and oppositions hold a certain reverie, as Cook probes at deep psychological and emotive ties between us and the seemingly ordinary matter than makes up our daily lives, memories, and dreams.
Carrie Cook, born in Nashville, TN (1984) currently lives and works in Los Angeles, CA. She holds a MFA from the University of Houston and a BFA from the University of Texas, Austin. Her work has been exhibited at venues such as CFHILL, Stockholm, Night Gallery, Los Angeles, Make Room, Los Angeles, Tyler Park Presents, Los Angeles, Below Grand, New York, Dread Lounge, Los Angeles, Lawndale Art Center, Houston, and Blaffer Museum of Art, Houston and featured in publications such as Art Maze Magazine and Contemporary Art Review Los Angeles. She will present a selection of new works on Zwirner Platform in Feb 2023 and her work will be included in the upcoming issue of Bat City Review, a literary journal out of the University of Texas.