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Melissa Cooke
updated: 09/16/2013
website: melissacookeart.com/
 
   
 
 
     
 
Artwork Title
art-medium
art-year
dimensions
Click thumbnails for full view:
 
In the Studio, Undertow series
Weightless
Engulf
Froth
Washed Out
Cream
Trickle
Glaze
Studio Shot of Ten 24x24 drawings
Smeared
Keep It Together
Preparing Drawings from the You Know Me Better Than I Know Myself series
This Is What You Wanted (Self Portrait With Onions)
In the Studio, Vacuum Series
In the Studio, Masked Series
 
Portfolio Keywords:  conceptual, figurative, gender/sexuality, identity, portraiture, psychological, anatomy, obsessive, craft, narrative
 
 
In the Studio, Undertow series by Melissa Cooke
In the Studio, Undertow series
photograph of graphite drawings
2012
Dimensions variable
Weightless by Melissa Cooke
Weightless
graphite on paper
2012
50" x  50" 
Engulf by Melissa Cooke
Engulf
graphite on paper
2012
50" x  50" 
Froth by Melissa Cooke
Froth
graphite on paper
2012
24" x  24" 
Washed Out by Melissa Cooke
Washed Out
graphite on paper
2012
50" x  50" 
Cream by Melissa Cooke
Cream
graphite on paper
2012
38" x  38" 
Trickle by Melissa Cooke
Trickle
graphite on paper
2012
24" x  24" 
Glaze by Melissa Cooke
Glaze
graphite on paper
2012
24" x  24" 
Studio Shot of Ten 24x24 drawings by Melissa Cooke
Studio Shot of Ten 24x24 drawings
photograph of graphite drawings
2012
Dimensions variable
Smeared by Melissa Cooke
Smeared
graphite on paper
2012
50" x  38" 
Keep It Together by Melissa Cooke
Keep It Together
Graphite on Paper
2010
50" x  38" 
Preparing Drawings from the You Know Me Better Than I Know Myself series by Melissa Cooke
Preparing Drawings from the You Know Me Better Than I Know Myself series
photograph of graphite drawings
2010
Dimensions variable
This Is What You Wanted (Self Portrait With Onions) by Melissa Cooke
This Is What You Wanted (Self Portrait With Onions)
graphite on paper
2009
50" x  38" 
In the Studio, Vacuum Series by Melissa Cooke
In the Studio, Vacuum Series
photograph of graphite drawings
2008
Dimensions variable
In the Studio, Masked Series by Melissa Cooke
In the Studio, Masked Series
photograph of graphite drawings
2008
Dimensions variable

Artist Statement

My most recent work acknowledges the relationship between photography, performance and drawing in portraiture.  I take photographs as I paint and pour liquids onto myself, using my face as a canvas.  The photo shoot references the practice of drawing and painting; then the final graphite drawing references photography.  The boundaries between the mediums are broken down and the processes are interwoven.

The images depart from the framing of traditional portraiture.  The viewer is not given an entire bust of the subject, rather the frame zooms into up-close sections of the face.  The cropping pushes the face to the surface of the paper, making the figure more ambiguous.  Flesh becomes abstracted: obliterated by paint on the skin,  distorted by the eye of the camera lens, or smeared by the glass of a Xerox machine.

The drawings are made by dusting thin layers of graphite onto paper with a dry brush.  The softness of the graphite provides a smooth surface that can be augmented by erasing in details and textures.  No pencils are used in the work, allowing the surface to glow without the shine of heavy pencil marks.  Illusion dissolves into brush work and the honesty of the material.

Artist Bio / CV
Melissa Cooke (b. Oconomowoc, WI, 1982) received her MFA (2011) and BFA (2006) from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Specializing in graphite on paper, her work investigates the relationship between photography, performance and drawing in portraiture.  Cooke is represented by Koplin Del Rio. Her drawings have been exhibited at venues nationwide, including the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, the Museum of Wisconsin Art, the Oceanside Museum of Contemporary Art, and numerous colleges. Cooke's drawings are in collections such as the Arkansas Art Center and the Howard Tullman Collection, and have been featured in New American Painting, and Drawing magazine.