Friday, April 25, 2014

Colin Cook on LARZ this Sunday

"...unlike the closed-circuit reflexivity of his solo projects, these works shift much of their anxiety away from the gaps between creator, artwork, and audience. Instead, these discontinuities are internalized along the boundary between two mutually exclusive domains of representation – Cook’s fussy photorealist renderings VS Shambaugh’s unschooled cartoonish primitivism. The role of straight man or foil – previously filled by the viewer – is enacted in the strictly negotiated collaborative process as well as the finished artifact.

But which is which? The abutment of these discrete modes in this once-removed theatrical space encourages literary, symbolic speculation. There is obviously a fundamental dualism at play in these mutually interpenetrating but non-porous illusionistic realms. But what other dualisms -- among the myriad defining the phenomenal world -- are implied? There’s certainly class and gender polarities embedded here, but many of the subtleties of the work depend on the ambiguity of the two drawing styles’ respective validity in the art world.

Ironically, on it’s own, Shambaugh’s incorrectness commands more currency in contemporary art terms – with recent contextual conceits like “Bad Painting”, deskilling, and the continued blurring of high art with the traditions of illustration and comics. In contrast, the accomplished rendering that goes into Cook’s portions of the pictures has been relatively unsupported since the advent of Abstract Expressionism, having to provide its own quotation marks if it wants to become part of the discussion. Thus the areas realized with elevated criteria-laden skills – the landscapes against which men pose, the female participants (almost exclusively) in the sexual pairings, and the beleaguered face of Cook – depend on their symbiotic contact with wrongness to be right.

While these are rewarding areas for narrative conjecture, the most significant impact of the collaborative model has been on the parameters of self-conscious isolation portrayed in Cook’s art, where discrepancies in political nuance are trumped by an emphatic egalitarianism. The seemingly insurmountable chasm between self and other (which in his solo work is played out as a one-sided -- therefore arguably hierarchical -- communication from a tower of creative solipsism) is translated into a diagram of equilibrium, a yin-yang of intricately frustrated miscegenation..."

Read the rest of When Worlds Collude: Colin Cook’s Irreconcilable Differences here.

See more of Colin's collaborative drawings with Bill Shambaugh here.

And tune in to KCHUNG Sunday April 27 at 12 Noon to hear Colin live on Doug Harvey's Less Art Radio Zine, listening to their grad school collaboration with Hector Romero "The Charles Ray Experience," Colin's postgrad antics with 'patacritical oldies cover band The Legion of Rock Stars, soundtracks to some of Colin's amazing videos, and much more!

PS, I got the "COOK" logo from the label of one of COOK Laboratories records, which seems curiously appropriate to the collaborativity discussed above, and beyond. Dig it:

Image: Colin Cook with Bill Shambaugh, portrait of the artist with a pretty girl (nestled fruit), 2012, Pencil and graphite powder on paper, 87 x 61 cm

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