- Lia Cook
- I work in a variety of media combining weaving with painting, photography, video and digital technology. My current practice explores the sensuality of the woven image and the emotional connections to memories of touch and cloth. Working in collaboration with neuroscientists, I am investigating the nature of the emotional response to woven faces by mapping in the brain these responses and using the laboratory experience both with process and tools to stimulate new work in reaction to these investigations. I am interested in both the scientific study as well as my artistic response to these unexpected sources, exploring the territory between scientific investigation and artistic interpretation. Recently I began using DSI Diffusion Spectrum Imaging of the brain and TrackVis software from Harvard to look at the fiber connections of communication between parts of the brain and to integrate these fiber tracks with the actual fiber connections that make up the woven translation of an image. In one case, I have included in an exhibition a participatory behavioral study (voluntary). I will be collecting data for scientific analysis at the same time as my audience is engaging directly with the work.
- “The candid intimacy of the family snapshot seems an unlikely starting point for Lia Cook’s over-scale woven images, until one considers that such weaving, whatever its size, is the result of the organisation of small elements, close attention to detail and the dexterity of handwork. Just as informal family photos are a medium of transaction and an exchange of intimate information and shared history, cloth enfolds us into its history as we allow it to envelop us and record the marks and creases of our presence. The source of Cook’s images is a simple camera from the 1950s, which has a link to today’s imaging technology in the same way that computers have their origins in the manually operated Jacquard weaving looms of the early nineteenth century. In Big beach boy Cook links these technologies, exchanging pixels for thread and focusing closely on the bland subject matter of a tiny and apparently insignificant family photo of a baby. On closer inspection, when we seem to be skin-to-skin with the child in an uneasy embrace, the subject dissolves into a pointillist colour field of shimmering individual threads, allowing our senses to take us beyond the threshold of recognition.”
— Robert Bell, Curator, National Gallery of Australia, Web text for exhibition “Transformations: The Language of Craft” 2005
- “The viewer is struck by the sheer physicality of her art as well as by her intellectual engagement. Sensual and sumptuous these….. works… spur questions and concerns that bring down the curtain on conventional notions regarding painting and privilege.”
- —Miles Beller, review of “Material Allusions” traveling exhibition, in Artweek Magazine.
- “Absorption and inclusion are pervasive strategies in Cooks work, operating at almost every level: formally, in her constant exploration of new techniques; emotionally in the way she stimulates the sense of touch through the eyes; and intellectually in the multiple reference to different art histories. Her work reminds us that in English the phrase “to weave together “ means “to integrate.”
— Meridith Tromble, essay for the Flintridge Foundation Awards forVisual Artists 1999/2000 catalogue.