An award-winning author, travel writer, crime/politico journalist, film producer, and former State Rep staffer recently added artist to her list of accomplishments.
Dallas (Bishop Art) resident Rita Cook says the idea to paint has been brewing in her soul for many years.
“I spent about nine years living with an artist in LA,” Cook says adding that during that time she was also surrounded by many other artists and creatives.
“The discussions and experiences during those years as well as traveling the world, these were all catalysts that finally allowed me to come to the point of my creations earlier this year. I began tapping into a sense that had just been waiting patiently to be acknowledged.”
In March of this year, Cook visited an old artist friend from LA who had moved to Kentucky – it was there she began to paint. And she couldn’t stop.
From the initial dabbling she got serious and when she was told she needed to frame her work before she could show it she also got creative.
“I was in Versailles, Kentucky with my friend in horse country and these beautiful surroundings and I decided to go to the Goodwill store there,” Cook explains. “I knew the importance of thinking outside the box from my days as an indie film producer. At the Goodwill I bought a few paintings with amazing frames and painted over the existing art. A few days later I went back and my eyes focused on this beautiful mirror and the frame. From there it became an addiction to find the perfect mirror frame and create the perfect story on that mirror. The two elements come together – old and new and it is very sustainable since I am recycling the mirrors and giving them a new life.”
By using the mirrors, Cook said she is also tapping into her esoteric side. She is asking the observer of her work what they see in the mirror. What patterns and stories she has created through her subconscious mind allows the observer to look at the work with an eye toward their own soul.
“That is the best part,” she says. “Some people have seen things in my art that I didn’t even see as the artist. My tagline for my Self-Portrait mirrorseries is “The Old, The New,
Do you dare to look at you?”
Since she began painting earlier this year Cook has painted roughly 100 pieces. Now, 43 of those pieces – acrylic on mirror and glass – are hanging in a gallery for the next four months in the Dallas Design District.
No small feat for a new artist, Cook’s gallery exhibition, Self-Portrait will be hanging at Dallas’ E Gallery on Dragon Street until February 28, 2023.
The artist says she believes the expressions in her work have been completely influenced by her 30 years of traveling around the world, working in politics, working in film and the overall writing of roughly 2000 articles in all genres as well as 10 published books, a puzzle that fits together perfectly.
“My books are a touch esoteric, which is where my heart often is,” says Cook. “So, this is an easy transformation for me. I see my work with a hint of Lyrical Abstraction meets Orphism as I use colors and expressions that echo these infinite forms and reflections.”
During her discovery of painting Cook also discovered artist Wassilly Kadinsky (a pioneer of abstract modern art) who she immediately identified with after she compared her work to his and it fit. Dallas Sculpture artist and friend, Art Garcia says of Cook’s work “Rita’s work resembles in her inaugural exhibition titled Self-Portrait a glimpse of human abstractions using acrylic on mirror and glass base. She taps into the universal code of images and color in the subconscious mind. Cook appropriates framed mirrors (and glass) allowing her strokes to dialogue with the existing material and her expressionistic application of paint may be considered single gestural abstractions, yet others covered canvases.”
Whatever the case, Cook says in conclusion that as a writer and film producer using words all these years, now she has come full circle “… having this expression of art I have quickly realized art is the story I am writing without using words. My ability to be a world citizen and now communicating in a language everyone speaks, this is powerful for me as I communicate directly within the energy of the subconscious mind.”
Self-Portrait opened at E Gallery on September 1, 2022 and will be on display until February 28, 2023.
The artist reception is Saturday, November 5, 2022, from 6 to 10 p.m., E Gallery Studios, 1110 Dragon Street, Dallas.