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against the grain to open at Diboll Gallery

Loyola press release - January 12, 2004

(New Orleans)—Artist Chris Cook’s exhibition against the grain opens at the Collins C. Diboll Gallery on January 20 and run through February 19. An opening reception to meet the artist is scheduled January 22, 6-8 p.m.

It has been several years since Christopher Cook made an oil painting. His recent practice has consisted solely of what he calls “graphites:” works on paper (an occasionally aluminum) using graphite powder dissolved in turpentine, oil and resin. His name for them evokes their uncertain status, especially in relation to painting on the one hand and drawing on the other. Why not call them drawings? Graphite on paper, after all, is drawing’s single most ubiquitous mode. Besides which, being made of graphite, these works are achromatic or monochromatic, depending on how you define gray, an attribute we again most readily identify with drawing, at least if we define it in unfriendliness to painting.

Cook’s graphites are doused in a turpentine-based medium. Turpentine’s toxic odor is itself enough to underline the absence of oil color, with which it has been so heroically paired down the centuries. Besides this, we can tell from the quality of marks that the images once existed in a fluid state associated with painting, as opposed to drawing. They seem situated roughly at a mid-point between the two disciplines, but in a manner that does not seem static. Instead, they veer towards one of the other, according to how we perceive and conceptualize them at any given moment. To describe graphites as painting/drawing hybrids still seems inadequate. They allude to yet other media.

Collins C. Diboll Gallery is located on the 4th floor of the Monroe Library. Gallery hours are 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., Monday – Saturday. For more information, call 861-5456, email visart@loyno.edu or visit cookgraphites.com.

About the Artist

CHRISTOPHER COOK was born in North Yorkshire, England, in

1959. Following six months travelling in North America, he studied

English Literature and Fine Art at the University of Exeter from

1981-83, receiving the Gladys Hunkin poetry prize in his final

year. He spent two years painting in a remote Devon valley

before moving to London in 1983 to take up a place on the Painting

MA at the Royal College of Art. His first London solo show was at

Camden Arts Centre in 1985, whilst he was exchange student at

the Rietveld, Amsterdam. The following year he moved with his

family to Bologna on an Italian Government Scholarship, and

stayed for two further years. On returning to live in Devon he

lectured extensively in the U.K., and took up a fellowship at Exeter

College of Art. In 1991 he was invited as Guest Artist to the

Stadelschule in Frankfurt and in 1993 was Visiting Fellow to the

Ruskin School, University of Oxford. His first of three extended

visits to India was in 1994, when he also worked for one

semester as Distinguished Visiting Artist at CalState University,

Long Beach. In 1997 he was appointed Reader in Painting at the

University of Plymouth.