November 6–December 18, 2021
Adams and Ollman is pleased to present The Company, a solo exhibition featuring new paintings by Emma cc Cook. Working entirely in monochrome, Cook reveals a world where individual and collective memory collide with history and geography, revealing secret narratives, forgotten truths, and newly forming futures.
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.
Do pilgrims only progress or do they travel backwards too? John Bunyan’s allegory of man’s forward movement towards Zion was taken up as a founding story of travelling to the New World: a religious justification for Europeans’ brutal occupation of America. Yet pilgrimage has since then gone the other way, becoming a search for an authentic self and homeland. Coachloads of white American tourists flock back to Europe in search of roots long since withered. These double meanings of pilgrimage, as locating and dislocating oneself, are mapped out in American artist Emma cc Cook’s new exhibition, inspired by the discovery of her Scottish roots and her ongoing exploration of national identity.
- Pilgrim, Public, London
Flags, Moskowitz Bayse, Los Angeles
Peeping Tom, Et al, San Francisco
The Company, Adams & Ollman, Portland
Stress Tested, Public, London
Milkman Pigeon, Half Gallery, New York
Resting Point of Accomadation, Almine Rech, Brussels
Eartha, Adams & Ollman, Portland
- To Hold ‘em or fold ‘em, Sadie Halie, Minneapolis