Ashley Cook creates works that are narrative, focusing on the human form, with the titles having a central position. She creates photomontage illusionist environments from disparate sources. Cook works with a mixture of found images and her own autographic and photographic images; she utilises an eclectic library of personal and archetypal iconography which she reuses, redevelops and manipulates continuously. Cook uses an intense palette of colour opposites that create a dreamlike and sometimes nocturnal quality to her work.
Cook graduated from Glasgow School of Art with First Class BA Hons in 1986 and Postgraduate Printmaking in 1987 and has since continued to practice as a professional artist, winning awards, exhibiting internationally and undertaking many international residencies.
Cook has work in a number of prestigious collections nationally and internationally including: the Scottish Arts Council; The BBC, Kelvingrove Museum & Art Gallery, Glasgow; The Vaasa Museum, Finland and Galeria Otra Vez, Los Angeles.
My early work centred around notions of gender, sexuality and identity. In many ways these themes are still recurrent in my prints, however I feel my current work is much less personal and more humorous in its outlook. The work is narrative, with the titles having a central position. The visual narrative resonates with the written titles to provide a space for the viewer to interpret a suggested scenario or emotion.
I work with a mixture of found images and my own autographic and photographic images. These form a massive library collected over my life; an eclectic range of personal and archetypal iconography that is constantly growing. I reuse and transfigure these images, manipulating them manually or via the computer relevant to the intention of each print.
I create illusionistic environments from disparate sources. These environments and the colours I use often have a dreamlike quality. There is often an element of searching for Utopia winding through my work.
I tend to focus on the female form – usually naked. In some ways this is a cheeky dig at the perspective of the female nude in a previously male dominated fine art tradition, but I also like the form unclothed to provide a more timeless image without the socio-political messages that clothing often has. I also like the aspect of my subject being “exposed” to the conditions of the world as we come into it.
I suppose the broader notions of my work circle around the questions: Who are we? Why are we here? Where are we going? I don’t pretend to have any of the answers to these questions, but I hope that my work can articulate situations or emotions that many people can identify with.