<< My 5 year old child could do it much better!>>
This is the first reaction one has when looking at Celia Cook’s works (www.celiacook.co.uk). She is an English artist who started showing her works when she was still studying at Royal College of Art in London. Her style is particular: a system of visual experiments based on geometries and symmetries of shapes.
While painting, she tries to join shapes on the canvas creating dynamism and a visual gymnastics among masses, volumes and movements. << Your child could do it much better!>>. But your 5 year old child has an advantage: they have not studied Art and do not have the burden of images already codified through rules.
Does she use imagination or follow with her eyes the geometrical lines? Firstly, Celia Cook uses paint with swift and steady strokes, after she uses spatula to convert negative space into an emerging shape.
It is right there where she pauses to redraw near the edges and the lines creating an archeology of the painting. The relative chaos among light, color and shadow is her goal and gives spectators two different experiences: the objective reality of paint on the canvas and the allusive reality of an unrecognizable, impracticable and unmentionable form (impossible objects).
Indeed, one might say that the impossible object now lives in the surrogated space of painting, created by the artist.
Unlike her predecessors, Cook’s work avoids a direct representation although her round lines recall inevitably the organic and natural sphere. It is evident the collocation of shapes with their edges, as if it was a container, a constraint.
Despite the different scale, it is not difficult to grasp visual and conceptual parallelisms between the space in Cook’s works and Frank Stella’s work from the ‘80s.
However, there is one key difference: Stella, once broken the painting plan, put real ledges from his work and also the apparent profundity, whereas Celia Cook makes use of a mere painting approach. Her work is schematic and fresh, the elements are kept together by internal logics and frozen while moving, unless spectators wish to wander into a journey on the canvas.
Article by Loriana Pitarra
English translation by Chiara Vilmercati