Splits + Divisions
May 1 - May 31, 2008
One of the Northwest’s most influential abstract painters, Judy Cooke has investigated abstract imagery
and the structure of painting for over 30 years. Within her new body of work, Splits + Divisions, Cooke
explores a highly physical painting process, working on the surface of found aluminum plates, rubber, and
wooden panel surfaces. Through sanding, scraping, and stripping the panels, she simultaneously defines
and defies the medium, exposing what lies beneath.
Irregular in shape, sometimes staggered when assembled, Cooke’s work continues to cross the precipice
between painting and sculpture. The split or division in the individual paintings reflect the artist’s ongoing
formal process, as well as correspond with the artist’s personal perceptions of current politics. Cooke’s
awareness of, and frustration with, the war is subtly made manifest within her dark, somber palette, use of
rubber, and use of the black line throughout the work. Though the dark line continues, the introduction of
color later in the series lifts the mood, the work becoming more expressive and painterly.
Judy Cooke received her degree from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston in the early 1960’s
and moved to Portland in the late 1960’s. She was recently awarded an Individual Artist Fellowship in
Painting from the Oregon Arts Commission, and throughout her career has received awards such as
the Flintridge Foundation Award for Visual Art, Portland’s Regional Arts and Culture Council’s Visual Artist
Fellowship Grant for Painting, and a Visual Artist Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.