Manchester-born, London-based artist Nigel Cooke is currently exhibiting his fourth solo show in New York’s Andrea Rosen Gallery, and the series of seven new, large-scale paintings are a bit like Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland by way of abstract expressionism.
There’s no denying the presence, and physicality, of the paint itself, as brushstrokes obscure landscapes—in some instances, almost completely—in thick, twisting swaths, and trippy flowers with human faces stare pensively out of frame while smoking what’s likely stronger than a standard cigarette. Taken together, the effect is only slightly less psychedelic than sitting in a brightly splotched hot rod in the middle of what appears to be a lush jungle while watching a waterfall trickle down from the mouth of an outsized skull (a scene that’s depicted in one of the works). Cooke describes the paintings as representations of the act of painting itself: “In multiple cycles of destruction and renewal, the wave storms crash into the imagery and wipe it out, leaving me the task of rebuilding the picture.”
See the show in person at the Andrea Rosen Gallery through May 12th.