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Heather Cook
at David Kordansky Gallery, Culver City, California
Recommendation by Michael Shaw

Continuing through June 18, 2011

For those who were first exposed to Heather Cook's work here via a group show in early 2010 - in which she showed three large-scale cotton jerseys that were spray-bleached so as to make artificial yet convincing folds - she has upped the ante considerably in this auspicious solo debut. There is one jersey piece here, larger-scaled than the previous black number, if you happen to recall it.  This one comes with a series of complex folds, illusionistic indentations and a set of overly self-aware silk-screened arrows indicating the folding points for proper shipping/crating. But this show is dominated by ambitious sculptural installations. "Backside" confronts the viewer at the rear center of the gallery with a pair of free-standing 7-foot-high white squares, each with their side and bottom perimeters cut out in a U-shape. Walk around to the other side and you find that the 'backsides' are giant denim pockets, created through frottage type rubbings. The right pocket has a stretcher-frame residue within it, and elsewhere in the show there is a similar single denim stretcher bar piece that lives on its own.

Even more installation-heavy is "Lean Repeat," two angled walls of finished and painted drywall that lean against the gallery walls at either corner. These are framed, as it were, by a black-and-white portrait photo of the artist as a child, herself leaning in the direction of the wall slabs. It's a disorienting collision of cuteness with monumentality that may be too smart for its own good - you can feel the strategic impulses at play. Nonetheless, especially aided by "Backside," the whole venue successfully cements Cook as an artist of ideas and objects who is rapidly and successfully branching into a multi-disciplinary practice. There's a maturity in this work that's tough and unforgiving, but also uncompromising.

David Kordansky Gallery

Published courtesy of ArtSceneCal ©2011

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