Casey Cook's Punch List Opens at I-20

Martin Marks

On Thursday, artist Casey Cook opened her second exhibition at the Chelsea art scene's fixture space, I-20 Gallery. The show, entitled Punch List, is named after the tasks on a construction site that need to be completed before a work can be considered sound. It's this dynamic -- between vision architecture and structural layering -- that Cook so compellingly explores in her compositions.  

Working both on paper and on larger canvases, the artist uses a palette that derives from a certain thrift store aesthetic -- electric oranges and blues, olive greens, and dark acrylic grays -- that lends itself towards the collection's vibrant, fluid appeal. Though, on the surface, her work could be seen as stemming from the European Dadaist and Surrealist traditions, there's something thoroughly American about it. Indeed, one needn't look any further than Cook's listed inspirations, objects she collected while touring with her band, Americans in France, to understand the continental-meets-new world feel of her abstractions.

On a certain level, the paintings evoke the early works of Jackson Pollock, though Cook is far more eclectic -- and original -- with her images. From the post-graffiti tradition of words spray-painted onto billboards, to the Roy Lichtensteinian legs that part and splice together in her "Hero Hello," to a splay of ballerinas that conjure up the figures on a Hieronymus Bosch triptych, Cook masterfully uses parts to craft her whole -- the fluid, interwoven narrative of the architectonics of her unconscious.

Casey Cook, who earned her MFA at the University of California, Los Angeles, currently resides in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Punch List runs from September 23 - October 20 at the I-20 Gallery, 557 West 23rd St., (212) 645-1100.

Subscribe to Get More