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Exhibition of recent graphite drawings by Melissa Cooke on view at Bernarducci Meisel Gallery
Afternoon Delight, 2011, graphite on paper, 50 x 38 inches.


NEW YORK, NY.- Bernarducci Meisel Gallery presents Melissa Cooke’s first solo exhibition at the Gallery entitled Recent Graphite Drawings. The monumental and highly detailed drawings included in this show pull from four distinct bodies of work: Still Lives, Plunge, Surfaced, and Lost Inside You and will be on view through February 28.

Undertow Bubble is a drawing from her Plunge series. She begins by photographing herself in a bathtub—sinking and swirling underwater. The foreground and background unite and the bathtub becomes a landscape. Flesh and hair intertwine with ripples and bubbles making the figure ambiguous and concealed.

Blocked is a self-portrait that is disguised by dark paint as her eyes glare back at the viewer. This work is an example from her Surfaced series where she intentionally collapses the boundaries of multiple creative processes by drawing from a photo of herself covered in paint and other liquids.

Lost Inside You is a series of drawings in which Cooke explores sexuality, relationships, and gender through depicting overtly symbolic everyday objects that are seen in a new light in their arrangement. This exhibition features a significant piece from this series titled Afternoon Delight—a drawing of a peeled banana secreting clear liquid onto bed sheets.

The series Still Lives, which is her most recent, departs from portraiture and places wigs (a reference to the female presence) among dandelions. In Wig in the Weeds, the attraction and repulsion of these discarded objects adds tension and mystery to the unknown narrative taken place in the image.

Melissa Cooke Melissa Cooke (b. Oconomowoc, WI, 1982) received her MFA in 2011 and BFA in 2006 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her drawings have been exhibited at venues nationwide, including the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, the Museum of Wisconsin Art, the Oceanside Museum of Contemporary Art, and numerous colleges. Cooke's drawings are in collections such as the Arkansas Art Center and the Howard Tullman Collection, and have been featured in New American Painting, and Drawing magazine.






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