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Stephen Haller Gallery artist Kate O'Donovan Cook's solo exhibition opens at the Mattatuck Museum
Stephen Haller Gallery staffer readies Cook photo for the Mattatuck Museum.

WATERBURY, CT.- Stephen Haller Gallery announced the first solo museum exhibition of the young photographer Kate O’Donovan Cook. I’ll Be Your Mirror: the Photographs of Kate O’Donovan Cook opened at the Mattatuck Museum, Waterbury, CT on Sept 22 and runs through Nov 17. Reception Sept 29 2-4.

The artist’s technique often includes photographing herself as multiple people in a single image to frame a narrative. Her work is characterized by explorations of identity through role playing in ways both theatrical and fantastical. Cook’s painterly photographs reflect her strong narrative and visual heritage. Her father was the renowned West Coast painter Gordon Cook, her grandfather Ireland’s master storyteller Frank O’Connor, her grandmother Abbey theatre actress Evelyn Bowen.

The exhibition is composed of a selection of 21 photographs from 2008 to 2013. Often influenced by place, the artist’s Waldorf Series depicts an assignation in a hotel room, in which the artist explores issues of gender and the ambiguity of relationships. O'Donovan Cook plays with the idealization of a romantic relationship, subverting it by portraying both characters: she is the male and the female engaged in this ambiguous scenario.

Cook, who received her MFA in 2010 from Maryland Institute College of Art, says the classic row houses of Baltimore reminded her of dovecotes. In the series Baltimore: the Family she wears a white bird-like mask. Construction of Appearance: The Webster Series takes place in front of a mirror in the dressing room of a famed music venue.

Earlier this year Cook was a featured artist in the exhibition How is the World? Recent Acquisitions of Contemporary Photography at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, and was singled out for praise by DC critics.

In a Washington City Paper review, Louis Jacobson writes, “Indeed, some of the exhibit’s less well-known artists produce the most arresting works. Kate O’Donovan Cook cleverly melds the approaches of Cindy Sherman and Gregory Crewdson, posing herself in elaborate scenarios, in this case a model being sketched by a group of ghostly male artists.”According to Michael O’Sullivan of the Washington Post, the Corcoran Gallery of Art is known as a “photography powerhouse.” In his review O’Sullivan writes, “Although the show includes such nationally well-known names as Edward Burtyasky and Hank Willis Thomas, you should check out the work of Kate O’Donovan Cook.”

Born and raised in San Francisco Kate O’Donovan Cook lives and works in New York City.

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