Rande Cook: Eye Candy
Sept 13 - Oct 27, 2018
Fazakas Gallery, Vancouver, BC
Opening Reception: September 13, 6 - 9 pm
Fazakas Gallery is pleased to present Eye Candy, a new series of sandblasted red cedar panels by Rande Cook. Trained in Kwakwaka'wakw aesthetics and values, Cook's skilful technique and innovative flair lead him to create a body of work that is bright and contemporary yet informed by tradition. As the artist states, "I bend all the rules with these [panels] while maintaining integrity to the true form passed on from my ancestors."
With this series the unique character of each cedar panel is allowed to shine. Sandblasting, a technique usually employed in commercial signage production, is here adapted to create unique works of art. As the softer part of the wood is eroded, the denser grain is exposed, revealing an undulating texture instantly reminiscent of cedar bark.
Above this textured surface sinuous designs appear to hover, their lyrical and fluid contours seemingly floating over the rich wood. Amidst the calligraphic strokes the forms of quintessentially coastal animals emerge such as beaver, frog and whale. Painted in a lively pastel palette accented with deep blues and fiery pinks, these panels capture the movement and richness of summer on the west coast. The levity of the colours, so suggestive of the bright tones of 1960s Pop Art, is also reflected in the titles of some works. "Catch Me" and "Violet" could be taken from the iconic sweetheart candies, and Cook's wry sense of humour glimmers through.
Through Cook's subtle use of negative space, overlapping forms to resonate with one another, creating a sense of depth. Designs are expertly balanced within their frames and keep the eye moving across the surfaces. The effect is of a lyrical movement captured for an instant: a bird taking flight, or a frog serenading the moon. In several panels, Cook uses a minimum of abstracted forms to suggest the experience of being in the landscape. The rustle of a summer breeze or the feeling of sunbeams on one's skin is hinted at while still leaving the design open to a viewer's own responses. Through his skilful deconstruction of traditional formline juxtaposed with a bright, fresh colour palette, Rande Cook produces a body of work that is lively, uplifting and a joy to behold.