Emma Courtney Cook & Austin Swearengin
Opening: Wednesday 15 February, 6–8pm
Dates: 15th of February – 11th of March, 2017
The lewd stench of the freshly cleaned washroom, or the daily ritual of drinking wine from a $.50 glass. I have taken more baths in the last two weeks than notches on my bedpost. Two or three a day, when I feel overtly stressed. There is a pang of hunger and walk from my apartment to the front door. A long 5 flights of stairs, because our elevator hasn’t worked since I moved into this place. I told myself it would be good, keep me in shape, but now is a terrible inconvenience. I dread this walk, as it is where I see all of the people I never really want to see. I find myself staring at their pores, and inspecting their hair. It’s something I do when not paying attention. It’s called brain stemming, I think. Like when you sit in the grass and immediately start pulling it for no apparent reason other than that is what you are doing. She is talking politics, a subject of which I care a lot about, but rarely find the energy to talk to people about. I’m now sitting at the café on the corner, after a while we change the subject and order another glass of wine and some bread. I walk home alone. Make the trek up the 5 flights of stairs. I take another bath and can hear someone playing music in the adjacent apartment. Loud and masking sex, I’m sure. When I go under the water it seems distant, like an underwater scene in a movie. Like when the camera bobs between under water and out of water, and every time the camera goes under it sounds distant and distorted. The steam makes it easier to breath, and I put my head under again just to listen some more.
Emma Courtney Cook was born in 1989 and is a painter living and working in New York. Her work consists of antidotes of religious and political iconography as well as personal narratives according to gender normalities. Beginning her career showing at the Walker Art Museum’s 20 under 20, Cook has since received the Minnesota State Arts Board grant, Gay M. Grossmen Scholarship in Painting, and the Carter Prize in Painting. Cook graduated with a BFA in Painting from the University of Minnesota and holds certificates in Classical Realism from Angel Academy in Florence, Italy and Atelier Lack in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She has attended multiple residency programs including Vytacil, Artist Student League of New York, and Campos de Gutierrez in Medellin, Colombia among others.
Austin Swearengin’s sculptural practice focuses on the materiality and design of everyday objects and how these can be altered or arranged to create narratives about technological infrastructures, art history, waste production and their relationship to identity. He received a Minnesota State Arts Board grant in 2015, was awarded an exhibition at the Minneapolis Institute of Art and was a resident at Pioneer Works in Red Hook, Brooklyn in 2016. Recent exhibitions include 'What Kills Me Makes You Stronger' at SLEEP CENTER in New York, 'Sweetheart, The Rent is Due' at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, and 'Carpe Dumb' at DETROIT gallery in Minneapolis. He received his BFA in sculpture from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design in 2013.
Exhibition documentation by Christo Crocker