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Lia Cook: The Embedded Portrait

May 23 - Aug. 22, 2009


Now available: Lia Cook: The Embedded Portrait Cell Phone Audio Tour

For nearly a decade, Lia Cook (American, b. 1942) has provided viewers with intriguing woven enigmas that explore the complex interrelationship between visual image, sensory stimulation, and emotional identification. These woven hangings depicting larger-than-life children illustrate Cook's exploration of the visual and physical realm where photographic likeness and textured textile meet. Her ongoing artistic investigation follows diverse approaches as seen in works from the Big Baby, Un/Mask, Traces, Binary Traces and Face MazeM series, created from 2000 to the present.

Cook takes the venerable early 19th century Jacquard weaving technique into uncharted territory, wedding it to sophisticated computer programs. Beginning with slides, photographs, or video stills, she develops her imagery, couples it with digital technology, and creates specifically designed weaves that allow her to build the image thread by thread.

Cook's portraits constantly challenge the viewer's perception as image and structure meld together or, conversely, one aspect vies for supremacy, depending on how near or far one stands in relation to the portraits. The embedded portraits demonstrate the seamless union of artistic concept and innovative technology, resulting in compelling and contemplative works of great power, presence, intrigue and complexity.

Cook has won prestigious awards from organizations in the United States, China and Japan. She has exhibited her work nationally and internationally, was included in the National Design Triennial: Design Life Now at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, New York. She is the recipient of numerous fellowships, including two from the National Endowment for the Arts. Cook's work can be found in museum collections around the world, including the Galerie National de la Tapisserie et d'Art Textile, Beauvais, France; the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.; and The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Cook has been a Professor of Art at the California College of the Arts in Oakland since 1976. She lives in California.

  • Lia Cook: The Embedded Portrait was curated for the University of Wyoming Art Museum by independent curator Alice Zrebiec.
  • Funded in part by Edelweiss Funds.

Images:

Right: Lia Cook (American, b. 1942), Big Cabbage Boy, 2003, Cotton, 155 x 54 inches, Lent by the artist

Center: Lia Cook (American, b. 1942), Face Maze: Tera, 2007, Jaquard double cloth, 46 x 52 in, lent by the artist. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Left: Lia Cook (American, b. 1942), Big Bicycle Baby, 2001, Cotton, 96-1/2 x 54 inches, Lent by the artist


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