Melissa Cooke: Egos
October 1, 2016–January 8, 2017
(detail) Melissa Cooke, Gorilla, Vacuum #10, graphite on paper, 2008
Melissa Cooke creates massive Photorealist portrait drawings by dusting thin layers of graphite onto paper with a dry brush. This process—which eschews the traditional pencil—results in mesmerizing images that seem to glow without the shine of heavy linear marks. From her student days at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Cooke’s work has focused on investigating the relationship between the self, photography, performance, and portrait drawing. Cooke finds drawing to be a cathartic way to explore and understand the various selves—or egos referenced in the title—she has experienced and encountered.