Sunday, August 16, 2009

Judy Cooke ~ Another Tarp and more, including Rauschenberg

Judy Cooke created a series of work in the mid-seventies and entitled it Tarps. Corridors, shown above, is from that series. Following the theme of Celbration After the Fact, our piece of the week here at Fifty Two Pieces, Cooke took weathered canvas sections which had been pieced together and then outlined rich, black shapes using charcoal. Like the shapes from "Celebration", the shapes are both geometric and organic leading to a sensual feel. That sensuality was expressed by one viewer of "Celebration" with this statement: "I see the shapes of bodies; it's as if the canvas was used as a cover over two people." These were powerful abstractions for the seventies.

Oil (shown here on the left) is one of Judy Cooke's most recent works. In Oil, she has used a panel of aluminum plates painted over with black and with a panel of rubber on the right. Much like in Celebration After the Fact, Cooke has used staples to attach the aluminum to the frame. In his article on the website PORT, Arcy Douglass speaks to how Judy Cooke used these industrial materials in a very deliberate manner even though they may seem spontaneous on first viewing. His comparison of Cooke's work with Robert Rauschenberg's combines is well worth reading. In addition Jeff Jahn commented on Douglass' post with this statement:

Probably Cooke's best outing since the fantastic tarp series of the mid 70's (but presented recently). I hope she expands these combination pieces to a similar range. Also using materials that reference the automobile and healthcare gives them a topical quality that might really take off if used in larger projects.

As a side note, Judy Cooke's Celebration After the Fact was hung next to Robert Rauschenberg's Cardbird VI for nearly two years. Much like Douglass who compared works like Cooke's Oil with Rauschenberg's Factum I and II, the curatorial staff at the Portland Art Museum had connected Cooke with Rauschenberg. Shown below are the two pieces, side-by-side once again.

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