In this new body of work – New Sensations - Will Cooke is intrigued by the invisibility of memory, and the way it is experienced within the body. He explores his own personal mythologies and memories, and attempts to make these internal thoughts and experiences external.
These are illusion-based paintings that begin a dialogue and a sensory relationship with the viewer. The artist wants these abstractions to simulate the processes and sensations of memory, ‘solidifying’ them in the physical.
In this exhibition, Cooke’s focuses on the relationship between form and surface, producing independent physical objects which transcend the conscious mind. The viewer’s participation completes the circle, bringing their own self-reflection to the proceedings.
This process comes about by analysing the connection between the mind and body then simulating that feeling in the medium of paint on canvas.
In his previous bodies of work, Cooke has also used ideas of nostalgia and memory, and its connection between the mind and body. He has explored this area further in this current exhibition, in a more analytical process.
Artists such as Bridget Riley, Victor Vasarely and Julian Stanczak have also utilised such methods in their work; but, whilst their Op-Art paintings were concerned primarily with the sensual visual stimulation produced by colour, line and shape, Cooke opens further possibilities. He harnesses the optical qualities of the dot, and, by varying the individual compositions, he seeks to push the boundaries of sensory experience. The multiplying and converging dot matrix, which falls in and out of ‘registration’, acts as a kind of code, which each individual will ‘de-code’ and decipher in her or his own way. The works act like a portal into the mind, unlocking emotional states and feelings.
Cooke would like the viewer to question what they are experiencing before the work – and the paintings are meant to act as a conduit for that questioning.
Steve Cox, 2017.