Mair Cook

Residency: Aspirus 05

12 August – 23 September 2013

Mair 2_small

Mair 1_small

Four years ago Mair Cook (UK) shaved her hair for charity. Now her hair grows down as she grows up. Long strands like twisting talons reach out in different directions as she searches for the right one.

As a tantrum prone child she would run screaming out of the front door and hide in a giant conifer tree in her front garden. Behind the low branches encrusted in dark needles there was a cradle big enough only for a small, boney child. She became a child of the tree, in its safe but spiky womb, an entirely private space. The tree was chopped down, and her work keeps sending her back outside to rebuild her guardian conifer.

Cook wants to create something to engulf the audience, the way her thoughts engulf her. She has an imaginary land, like the blissful, colourful places Henry Darger painted. A land with mirror balls reflecting beautiful, iridescent jewels mosaiced into big trees heavy with age and veins. Where glorious birds nest, protected by the tree’s thick arms. She wants to reconnect with the soil. She wants to become the land, while maintaining a respect for the earth she comes from.

She is interested in creating an escape. A kind of limbo. A place where she is immortal. Where death is no longer fate; her own utopia. She finds the idea almost suffocating. By joining ArtFunkl, taking herself away from what is familiar and comfortable, she has taken the first step towards her escape, providing an entirely new environment to soak up. She breathes in her landscape; in a new land, not knowing what she might breathe out.

She is reluctant to specify how her projects will evolve. There is a process for her to go through first while she is creating, and she doesn’t really know yet what the outcome will be.