Duos exhibit uses photos, sculptures, Parton songs
She created "Doing It Like Dolly Does … How Does Dolly Do It” with fellow artist Abi Semtner. The exhibit is on display at the Cecily E. Horton Gallery at Lawndale Art Center until March 4. The title refers to country singer Dolly Parton, whose musical inspiration Cook drew from heavily during the creative process.
A longtime country music fan who grew up in Tennessee as well as Texas, Cook wanted to use Parton's songs in part because of the strong association they had with her youth.
"(Semtner) and I were studio mates at University of Houston here for a year, and we proposed this project to Lawndale," Cook said. "We collected a group of Dolly Parton songs that had a sentimental, nostalgic meaning to us from growing up in Texas. We shared this sort of past experience with this kind of country music."
The exhibit is composed mainly of paintings that were inspired Cook's photography, though there are some small sculptures as well. Although the Dolly Parton theme is present throughout the work, Cook explains that not everything directly correlates with a specific song.
"It's loosely related to the songs," Cook said. "Some are more directly referencing her catalog, and some are loose and sort of associatively referencing her songs. But it's all stuff we made specifically for this show."
Cook also has had other successes with projects she has done outside of her coursework. In recent months, she has seen her work displayed at, among other venues, the Art Palace Gallery, 4411 Montrose, and Domy Books, 1709 Westheimer Road. The Lawndale exhibit, however, represents a milestone in her artistic career.
"This is the first big exhibit that I've proposed with another artist and curated myself," Cook said. "I've been involved in some other group shows in Houston, where the person putting the show together has come and chosen what they want to put in, but this is the first time I've collaborated on the concept of an exhibit and curated it with another artist."
ABOUT Carrie Cook
OCCUPATION: Graduate student and teaching fellow at the University of Houston
COMMUNITY CONNECTION: Lives in the Heights
FAST FACT: Received her bachelor’s in fine arts from the University of Texas
Chris Marshall is a freelance writer. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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