New York-based artist Ethan Cook engages with material existentialism in his practice of woven canvas and handmade paper. Each medium for Cook constructs a fresh take on the legacy of abstraction. Ethan Cook’s “paintings” are made up of swathes of woven color that exist to give color structure. In turn, his handmade paper constructs a color field with pigment, earth material, and water.
For Cook, the performance of making is at once meditative and intensely rhythmic. The grandness of the loom, with its thousands of moving processes and parts, generates a symphony of action that is both quick and unpredictable, developing a variety of idiosyncrasies like a pulled thread or skipped knot, producing a variety of textures that reveal that the works are indeed, handmade.
In 2019, Cook began incorporating aluminum panels into his woven works, disrupting his strict adherence to textile as the sole medium in his practice. The aluminum provides a break in the texture allowing the eye to clearly see the difference between the painted panel and the hand woven cotton.
These recent incorporations to his practice, alongside paper making and producing the actual canvas by weaving, are ways for the artist to subvert abstract painting and to do something radical within the confines of art making.
Ethan Cook (b. 1983, Texas lives and works in Brooklyn, New York) will present a solo exhibition at Nino Mier Gallery, Los Angeles in October 2020. Cook’s work has been exhibited internationally at Andersen’s Contemporary, Copenhagen, DK; Galerie Philipp Zollinger, Zurich, CH; T293, Rome, IT; Patrick de Brock Gallery, Knokke, BE; and Gana Art Hannam, Seoul, KR.