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Chris Cook

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Tonic at Keith Talent Gallery, London
Tonic at Keith Talent Gallery, London
A painting installation entitled 'Tonic' with text by Jeremy Gilbert Rolfe. Installation at Keith Talent Gallery, London

Rather, here is a red with which one is also familiar because of its ubiquity in cosmetics, which is the other respect in which it suggests not just one but two starting points for Cook's work outside of the multiplicity of possibilities that we once sought to organize into a tradition This red, which has proliferated into many versions of itself in Cook's work, was most precisely described to me by another young artist, Olivia Booth, who said it was a red which had hot pink behind it. Goethe, beloved of art historians and philosophers because he clung to the belief that Hack and white were continuous with, and indeed fundamental to , colour, perhaps didn't allow for a red which can't reasonably be described as aggressive — unless one finds having one's sensations abused oppressive, but people who do should surely consider staying away from art galleries except when accompanied by those who can help them — and is certainly not retiring, but is instead assertive in a different way—a difference underscored by 'assertive' obviously and immediately being clearly not quite the right word — than those offered by Goethe's (masculinist) oppositions. It's what you have instead of assertion when hot pink's behind everything.

When I first saw Chris Cook's work, two or three years ago. it struck me that the red I was seeing in it was both familiar and unfamiliar. The reds found in Matisse's Red Studio or Rothko or Newman's Vir Herotus Subhmis would actually look a bit restrained and even brown placed beside he red Cook uses, but while unfamiliar within the lists of greatest his of modem art it was familiar to me as a version of the reds ore sees all over the place in New York's Chinatown, where I once lived. Much more intense and also slightly more crimson than the others I've mentioned, most thoroughly itself when the property of a lacquered surface, Cook has used it to find a starting point of her own which is in that respect and also another outside the rules observed in or set down for western painting by Goethe.Goethe says there are reds that are aggressive, on their way to being orange, which he identifies with French panting, and ones that are passive because they contain blue, which recedes rather than advances, and which he says to he characteristic of Italian painting, but Cook's reds are neither these.

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