Ethan Cook



Artist: Ethan Cook
Year: 2013
Medium: Woven Canvas
Dimensions: 60 x 80 inches


Ethan Cook is a painter currently living and working in New York City. The artist is known for his abstract paintings on self-produced canvases, and most recently, handwoven strips of cotton and linen that come together to form what appears to be a painterly composition. Cook was featured at Art Basel Miami Beach’s exhibition “2014 Artists to Watch

It seems like a simple case of real versus copy, a mimesis with two terms. Rather they renounce direct imitation by using colors that are clearly artificial and fantastic: greens, reds and blue.

As much as they imitate canvas they dramatize their status as independent form. Which is to say that three degrees or levels of representation are in play, not just two: the surface of the actual canvas, made of cotton and bought at the store; the hand woven canvas, whose simulation is both approached and renounced; and the painting itself, the lines and color patches that have their own autonomy, in a median space between the poles of original and copy. When a representation is placed alongside or against the original, representation is raised to a higher power: it becomes ‘simulation’. After all, that something can be accurately represented need have no bearing on the status of the original: representation does not necessarily produce of itself the idea of competition between the original and copy, or of the copy’s independent power. But when the copy stands adjacent to or in the place where one would expect the real thing, something more is involved; the original loses its autonomy, it becomes the first in a series that also includes fictions.

American, b. 1983