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Artist Monica Cook

Death by Party | The Paintings Of Monica Cook

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As children, we’re awfully nude and vulnerable, emotionally and psychologically. We traverse the vast terra firma as a microcosm of self-discovery without provocation. Whether ultimately a map of mirth or an atlas of atrabilious proportions, we’ve yet to tailor the proper defense to suit each of our lives. The most raw a child could become is through some creative medium. What cannot be stated/sated in our then-limited lexicon is oft therefrom put to paper, expressing an untainted vista into what our expanding minds and souls think and feel. Most of these are visual via insular symbolism, thus injecting a nakedness into the picture. What if the non-greasy recesses of our then-salient-brains grew not to mind oils? The ambrosial paintings of Monica Cook are a shining example of what our beautiful adult belfries may envisage when they eschew the mental balustrade for running down the stairs like a fearless child.

This Georgian-born, Brooklyn-based artist has a very ardent following, and judging by her maw-opening, awe-inspiring offerings, I see absolutely no reason to contest such. Her oil paintings are quite pedantic in their rich tonality and photo-realism, possessing an unnerving warmth tempered with an inviting discordance. She actually pulls herself into many of them, sometimes a few times for one piece in the pursuit of finding out what makes her who she is and baring it to the world, literally. This plurality of puerility is to me a munificence on magnificence. To share such cerebral intimacy from someone so talented is tantamount to a communal and playful romp with her in the myriad colors of life, marred by adulthood yet married by youth. Cook ensures a shower en masse will conclude the evening’s festivities in her facilities, and we’re left compromised as we once were ages ago- naked but no longer mired. Perhaps the inherent properties of oil do in fact the best social lubricant make… next to alcohol, of course.

Normally, I would use my sapience of the subject at hand to conclude the piece on a more intimate note. In this special case I won’t as much, tying in its stead a more musical one- HTRK. I find their songs to be haunting and beautiful, much like Monica Cook’s largesse. I, however, wasn’t cognizant up until the bestowing of this assignment that the band’s live visuals, most notably for the video ‘Love Triangle,’ summarily jump started my synapses, due to glaring inside the golden maw of a breathing painting. For all intensive purposes, I believe it is Monica’s visceral works of cephalopods commiserating with the likes of us humans (not the other way around) that predates the band’s offering (and not the other way around.) My entreated homework assignment for you is to listen to the languid tunes of the duo whilst viewing these transcendent creations. Hate Rock Trio became HTRK, much in the vein of Joy Division-cum-New Order, rediscovering its flesh a new sense of wonderment from loss, which would render this triumvirate of artwork, music, and emotion a true, Bizarre Love Triangle.

-Robert Kijowski

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