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Janet A Cook's second solo exhibition with Dacia Gallery opens in New York
Opposing Forces, oil on panel, diptych, 2014.

NEW YORK, NY.- Dacia Gallery is presenting Janet A Cook’s second solo exhibition with the gallery entitled Ars Longa Vita Brevis. The exhibition is on display from March 6 through March 27, 2014.

Capturing intricate poses with a powerful dynamism of movement from the classics of Tiepolo and Rubens to the late academic styling of Bouguereau, Cook’s intimate narratives are an authentic experience of today’s world. Cook reverses the sentimentality and artifice of some academic figurative painting with a cool palette complimented by a quick and resolute style that shrewdly combines the everyday visual life of fashion magazines, ads, graffiti, and body art with personal issues facing people today.

At a dance performance Cook viewed dancers connected by rope creating tension and resistance through fluid movements. This conflicted fluid movement provides the focal point in Opposing Forces. The left figure sits nonchalantly besides her crown – relaxed, refined and suggestive of power; a pose that has a long established history depicting monarchs and popes. While on the lower right, crouching and pulling with all her might, is a woman who has to struggle to retain the crown she wears. And in the middle standing tall and straight forward, however, elusive - balance. She stays in the middle ground in a veil of blue, just beyond our grasp. A glimpse of her eyes, an outline of a breast, and the curve of a hip, form a sketchy presence. A presence and balance we all hope to achieve in our own delicate personal tug-o’-war.

Phaeton’s Fall, based on Ruben’s painting of 1605, is a contemporary retelling of Apollo’s son, Phaeton, who decides one day to take the god’s mighty sun chariot for a joy ride only to lose control, and crash and die while the earth is in flames. The warning is timeless for the need of personal restraint and responsibility. Cook’s interpretation of Phaeton is as an African-American guy looking directly at the viewer as he plunges into an abyss of a cool blue media haze. He has fallen from grace for reasons unknown, but in today’s world of everyone on YouTube or Dr Phil, he wants you to know who he is.

Often interpreted as “art is long, life is short,” Ars Longa Vita Brevis was originally the opening statement in a medical text with a more direct translation of “It takes a long time to acquire and perfect one’s expertise, and one has a short time but to do it.” Cook is on that life long journey of pursuing painting and her life, and in doing so creates a presence we can all relate to in that short span of time trying to reach for expertise in life or in painting.

Cook will have pieces at the Salmagundi Club’s annual spring benefit in March. Her paintings were included on NBC's Dateline episode on the “Da Vinci Code” and a pastel of a street scene was reproduced in The New York Times, 2010. Cook’s paintings are in private collections in Asia, Europe, Israel, Panama and the US, and the permanent collection of the Trenton City Museum, NJ. She has exhibited extensively nationally and in France, Germany, Netherlands and Romania. Cook’s reviews and articles include: The American Art Collector, The Pastel Journal, American Artist Magazine, The Gallery and Studio Magazine, The Times Square Chronicle,, Fine Art Connoisseur, and The New York Optimist to name a few.

Originally from the UK, she now resides and works in New York City. Cook studied at the National Academy School of Art in London and the Art Students League in New York City. She holds a BA in Art History with honors from DeMonford University, England, UK.

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