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Perhaps it is their optically rhythmic patterns, tactile quality, or their ability to conjure up the coziness of home; whatever the case there is something timelessly alluring, even comforting, about textiles. Consisting of three main galleries containing two related series of woven artworks, Heather Cook’s 1D 5L 2D 6L 3D 7L 4D 8L 5D 1L 6D 2L 7D 3L 8D 4L at Praz-Delavallade, named for a set of jack loom foot pedal instructions used in the creation of the work on view, provides the viewer with some peaceful respite from a frantically graphic world.
With titles such as Shadow Weave Navy Blue (23) + Neon Orange 8/4 Cotton 15 EPI (2018) the five pieces of the Shadow Weave series continue the exhibition’s self-referential naming structure. Taken as a whole, the series is both visually and technically repetitive, yet each work possesses slight variations in weave the press release refers to as “glitches”. These occur when Cook pauses for a moment while making them, interrupted by an arresting thought or unexpected domestic duty, and then later resumes, causing a slight rupture in the weaving pattern. This move imbues each piece with a unique, hand-touched quality and a personal, if enigmatic, timeline of the artist’s day, saving the series’ repetitive nature from feeling dull.
The corresponding Weaving Draft series consists of three paintings on linen that illustrate the pattern instructions for a corollary painting in the Shadow Weave series, and one, singular painting reveals the pattern for the linen itself. While an intellectually logical and, again, self-referential play on an aspect of the artist’s practice she is clearly invested in, the Weaving Draft series come across as one-note in comparison to their companion paintings.
Cook’s work with textiles, a medium she has utilized for well over a decade, benefits from the long view and the vigilant eye, both increasingly rare forms of attention. In a move that is either refreshingly hopeful or hopelessly naive, Cook takes a chance on that rare, attentive viewer who will spend time with a medium often more privileged for its form than its concept, and let the exhibition’s multiple layers of meaning—formal, personal, and temporal—slowly unfold.
Heather Cook: 1D 5L 2D 6L 3D 7L 4D 8L 5D 1L 6D 2L 7D 3L 8D 4L runs from April 28–June 16, 2018 at Praz-Delavallade (6150 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90048).