e - ccc     |     index︎
e - ccc     |     index︎
B. 1989, Minneapolis, MN
Lives and works in Austin, TX

Studio - Emmaccxxk@gmail.com

Emma cc Cook (b.1989, Minneapolis, MN; lives and works in Austin, TX) graduated with a BFA in painting from University of Minnesota and studied classical realism at the Angel Academy in Florence, Italy. Recent exhibitions include solo exhibition Milkman Pigeon, Half Gallery, New York, New York, 2021; group exhibition Resting Point of Accommodation, Almine Rech, Brussels, Belgium, 2021. Select residencies include New York School of the Arts at Vytacil and Campos de Gutierrez in Medellin, Colombia. Emma received the MSAB grant, the Carter Prize in Painting and the Gay M. Grossman Memorial Scholarship.


Suspended disaster lurks throughout Emma cc Cook’s vampiric interiors and sprawling landscapes. Something cataclysmic has happened: an anemic season, the breakdown of language, a long night perforated by sweeping floodlights. In several drawings and in the exhibition’s sole oil painting, manicured tracts of ashen land roll by through neatly cropped windows. Thoughts and memories interject in vignettes dislocated from their makers and packed neatly into gridded cells, evoking comic strips, graphic storyboards and, of course, flags.

Like flags, Cook’s systems of organization prove both intuitive and opaque. Symbols and relationships are often implied, but rarely explained; narratives crystallize and break apart, and dividing lines are alternately binding and bypassed. Desiccated variants of the American flag declare themselves to the viewer like beacons: stretched, compacted, and drained of blood, they become abstractions caught between inherited meanings and possible alternatives. Would a person only vaguely familiar with the history of the United States pick out the significance behind fifty stars and thirteen stripes? What about thirty-nine stripes and a wrung-out mop? Twenty-four stars, thirty-five stripes, and a sketch of Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d'Avignon?

Cook’s vision of a zapped America confronts the viewer with a hushed urgency. The works on paper, deep-set in blackened steel and mahogany frames, suggest an ominous future-folk art, nodding to withering craft traditions and beset notions of agrarian self-sufficiency. There’s still value and beauty inherent to making, argues Cook. All is not lost; fish, chicken, and wine are still on the table.

Possibility dances across the faces dotted throughout, and in the very bones of the works’ construction. The artist’s psychic rumblings portend renewal and rebirth by presenting a vacuumed moment of sharp inhalation. Indeed, Cook’s exhausted America cycles constantly between ruin and replenishment. An abiding tension between the safety of home and a vast physical and spiritual wilderness guides the viewer through despair and into promise. Salvation through making; shelter embedded in memory. Flags of a future marked by empty fields, full tables, and scattered faces, lost for words.

-Moskowitz Bayse

In Cook's mottled, shape-shifting environments, horizons blur, often distinguishable only by subtle changes in texture, while figures and symbols emerge from darkly cast undulating pastoral fields, disrupting the pictorial plain. Female figures, candelabras, symbolic gates, and newspaper headlines dot a landscape reminiscent of the American agricultural midwest, with orderly parcels of land, barns, and towering pylons. Sometimes cartoonish, sometimes unsettlingly wrought, these graphic vignettes function like the artifacts of a visual archaeology of place, intimating darker histories and hushed words. We see a newspaper clipping, illegibly narrating some past event or related memory; a progression of shovels, slowly entering the ground in rhythmically arranged frames across a field of unspecified crops; a marble bust resting glibly over the head of some dreamer, exhausting, perpetual, like some nostalgic zombie.

Through her paintings, Cook weaves worlds that reflect a comingling of space with bodies in physio-historical imaginative projections that blur the line between what is present and past, here and gone, known and unknown, personal and collective. They exist somewhere in between being and becoming, beckoning a new world that is not yet formed, caught in contemplation of what could be.

- Adams & Ollman

Education :

2010 BFA in Painting, University of Minnesita, Twin Cities
2012 Classical Realism, Angel Academy, Florence Italy

Select Solo Exhibitions :

2023  Forthcoming - Adams & Ollman, Portland, Oregon
2022  Forthcoming - Public Gallery, London, England
2022  Flags - Moskowitz Bayse, Los Angeles, California 
2022 Peeping Tom, Et Al, Mission, San Francisco, California 
2021 The Company,  Adams & Ollman, Portland, Oregon
2021  Milkman Pigeon, Half Gallery, New York, New York
2019  To hold ‘em or fold ‘em, Sadie Halie, Minneapolis, Minnesota 

Select Group Exhibitions & Fairs :

2022  Forthcoming - Nada Miami, Et al, San Francisco, California 
2022 Material Art Fair, Anonymous gallery, Mexico City, Mexico
2022 Felix, Adams & Ollman,  Los Angeles, California
2021 Stress Tested, Public Gallery, London, England
2021 Nada Miami, Et al,  Miami, Florida
2021 Frieze New York,  Half Gallery, The Shed, New York, New Yor
2021 Resting Point of Accomodation,  Almine Rech, Brussels, Belgium 
2020  ALAC Fair, Et al,  Los Angeles, California
2020 Eartha, Adams & Ollman, Portland, Oregon
2018  Utopian visions art fair, Chicken Coop Contemporary, Portland, Oregon
2018 Lemon in the night, Mild Climate, Nashville, Tennessee
2017 Whistle Jacket, ChlORO, Mexico City, Mexico
2017 Slow Patsy, Bus Projects, Melbourne, Australia
2017 N. 16: BEAT THE SYSTEM LIKE A DEAD HORSE, Museum Gallery, Brooklyn, New York
2015  Plum, Bedfellows Club,  San Francisco, California 
2015 DEAR MAMA,  Department of Signs and Symbols, Brooklyn, New York    
2015 Mnemonic Arrangements, The Emata Building, Medellin, Columbia
2009 20 Under 20, Walker Art Museum, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Awards & Residencies :
2016  Artist in residence, Campos de Gutierrez, Medellin, Colombia
2016  Minnesota State Arts Board, Arts Initiative Grant
2014  Artist in residence, Vyticail Residency, Arts Students League of New York
2010  Gay M. Grossmen Memorial Arts Scholarship
2010  Carter Prize in Painting Arts Scholarship

Curation : 

2021 Stress Tested, Public Gallery, London, England