Lia Cook In Touch: Faces and Mazes

Lia Cook In Touch: Faces and Mazes

Monday, March 16, 2009 to Friday, April 10, 2009

The Robert Hillestad Textiles Gallery at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln will present “Lia Cook: In Touch, Faces and Mazes,” a solo show featuring the work of Lia Cook, March 16 -April 10, 2009.

Cook, a weaver from Berkeley, California, uses an electronic Jacquard hand loom to weave faces that dissolve into continuously changing, maze-like patterns. As the faces fragment, a perceptual shift occurs, moving through a place of transition and ambiguity to reveal the physical, tactile nature of the constructed image. Cook uses a detail, often re-photographed, layered, and re-woven in oversize scale, to intensify an emotional and/or sensual encounter.

Cook says, “I use a digital loom to weave images that are imbedded in the structure of cloth. The digital pixel becomes a thread that when interlaced with another becomes both cloth and image at the same time. My practice involves research into new technologies and new ways to translate my images that make the structure visible and physically felt, attempting to create the image as physical object.”

About Cook's work, Robert Bell, Senior Curator of Decorative Arts and Design at the National Gallery of Australia, wrote with insight in an exhibition catalogue essay: "The candid intimacy of the family snapshot seems an unlikely starting point for Lia Cook’s over-scale woven images, until one considers that such weaving, whatever its size, is the result of the organisation of small elements, close attention to detail and the dexterity of handwork. Just as informal family photos are a medium of transaction and an exchange of intimate information and shared history, cloth enfolds us into its history as we allow it to envelop us and record the marks and creases of our presence. The source of Cook’s images is a simple camera from the 1950s, which has a link to today’s imaging technology in the same way that computers have their origins in the manually operated Jacquard weaving looms of the early nineteenth century...Cook links these technologies, exchanging pixels for thread and focusing closely on the bland subject matter of a tiny and apparently insignificant family photo...On closer inspection, when we seem to be skin-to-skin with the child in an uneasy embrace, the subject dissolves into a pointillist colour field of shimmering individual threads, allowing our senses to take us beyond the threshold of recognition.”

The show, organized and curated by Hillestad Gallery director and textiles professor, Wendy Weiss, is a traveling exhibit that will be on tour through 2011. The Hillestad Gallery is the first venue on the tour.

Cook will present a public lecture, “Lia Cook: Faces and Mazes,” on Saturday, April 4 at 4:00 p.m. in the Human Sciences Building , Room 11, with a reception following. The Hillestad Gallery is part of the Department of Textiles, Clothing and Design at UNL and is located on the second floor of the Human Sciences Building , north of 35th Street and East Campus Loop. The gallery is open to the public without charge Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and weekends by special request. Call (402) 472-2911 for more information and to request weekend opening. The gallery is closed during university holidays and between shows.

Traveling exhibit schedule

School of Art Gallery Kent State University September 1-25,2009

University of North Texas Art Gallery Denton, Texas 10-December 12, 2009

Gregg Museum of Art & Design North Carolina State January 21-May 15, 2010

Single Exhibit (unique checklist, works illustrated) Textile Museum of Canada 55 Centre Avenue Toronto, Ontario M5G 2H5 April 7-September 6, 2010


A-maze Doll, 2008, woven cotton & rayon, 80" x 53"


Doll Face, 2007, woven cotton, 92" x 52"


Maze Gaze, 2007, woven cotton, 72" x 52"