Featured Artist of the Month – Katy Cook

Written by Forge

On September 20, 2023

Katy Cook is our artist of the month and is based at the Forge.

How would you describe your current practice (eg materials, techniques, themes, key questions, approach?)

Central to my work is an engagement with drawing. Drawing acts as a mode of
exploration and as an investigative tool. For me, drawing is a way to gather areas of research which have ranged from archeology to agriculture and science to poetry.

Moving between two and three dimensions, my work explores surface, mark and line. I’m interested in working with originally flat or linear materials that are woven, folded or bent – moving them away from their flat beginnings. I enjoy the process of making and drawing in dialogue.

My recent work has included a felt ‘blanket’ and a baling twine sculpture which I showed together with works on paper. I see all my work as drawings whether they are in two or three dimensions.

What are you working on at the moment (forthcoming exhibitions, events, workshops, etc?)

Having recently graduated, I have spent the last couple of months reviewing my work from the last few years (and having a break from the studio!). My degree has enabled me to explore my own sense of making and formulate a personal art practice.

Completing a BA in Fine Art has always been a goal of mine however I took a long route to get there via Art History and working as a secretary for many years. So I’m happy to finally be immersing myself in making! I’m looking forward to getting into the studio at Digswell to further develop my work and see where it takes me.

What are your plans for the coming year?
This year, I hope to make some new connections with artists based in Hertfordshire. I enjoy facilitating art workshops so I hope to get involved with some teaching. I’d also love to get back to some printmaking which I think could be a great progression for my work.

What is the question that you most get asked about your work?

People have been very curious about the use of orange bailing twine. It definitely provokes a reaction!

Who or what inspires you?

I try not to take the visual or material world for granted and want to stay curious about the formal qualities of our environment. Everyday encounters with materials, shapes and colours all find their way into my work in some way. I was recently looking at the construction of a road works sign or (more embarrassingly) picking packing out of a rubbish bin to see what it was made from. I am also beginning to explore nature writing and poetry.

Which artists do you most admire and why?

There are lots of artists who I love but my current favourites are Dorothea Tanning(1910-2012), Lee Bontecou (1931-2022) and Jay DeFeo (1929 – 1989).

Tanning has a way of bringing together strangeness and beauty. For me, she’s a master of pointing towards a female experience…the oddness of domesticity for example. I’m thinking of my favourite painting of her’s: Some Roses and Their Phantoms (1952) where the table is home to some hybrid and metamorphosing objects. I very much enjoy her later drawings (1980s) and find her sculpture fascinating. Bontecou, sadly, is not so well known in this country. Her drawings caught my attention initially and I had a feeling that her drawing practice was closely related to the construction of her large wall-based sculptures. I’m very inspired by her work which moves between drawing, sculpture and print.

Jay DeFeo’s work has a hybridity to it which seems both acutely observed and expertly abstracted at the same time. She communicates a strong haptic vision and I think is a very ‘feely’ painter.

I also could have mentioned Michael Andrews, Louise Nevelson, Amy Sillman, ErikaVerzutti, Sheila Hicks, Avis Newman…………just too many to choose!

How has your relationship with Digswell Arts strengthened your practice as an artist?

I’m hoping that being involved with the Digswell community will be great from a practice development point of view but also getting to meet and learn from other artists will be great.

Connect with Katy:

My website:- www.katycookart.com

Instagram: – @katycookart

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