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IAN COOK RI RSW
My stamping ground – in terms of research and visual fodder – is dominated by the Americas. Over the last decade, in the process of responding to the myriad of creative cultural sources that proliferate within that continent, I have made regular pilgrimages from the Canadian forests to the Chilean deserts. In the course of these investigative expeditions I deliberately sought to absorb contemporary themes and combine them with traditional aspects. As so often happens when navigating the river of life, one becomes diverted along its tributaries and drawn deeper into that limitless matrix whose origins have defied analysis from the time of Cicero to that of Sartre. Long term exposure to indigenous societies and the amuletic beliefs they hold alongside a passion for history, folklore and mythology has fuelled my productive output and resulted in my creating works for one man shows and mixed exhibitions based on these themes. I’m aware that when I’m travelling, I’m simultaneously looking for something spiritual that pulsates beneath the strata we call civilisation, but altruistically, I hope I never find it, because the ultimate uncovering of that obscure veneer might dilute the mysteries I seek, rendering them mundane and devoid of their original allure. Aside from this long-term field of study I retain an enduring fascination for the human figure. My approach to this is two-pronged: I regularly produce a series of life studies that allows me to merge academic drawing and use colour in explorative terms. Essentially, these works are a prelude to creating compositional variations that combine the model with her/his respective environment – furniture, rugs still life objects etc. Many of these works are conceived from a bird’s eye perspective that lends a semi-abstract element to the composition, rendering figure and surroundings as geometrical properties, thereby allowing the observer a different viewpoint on the scene presented.
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