“My work is more choreographed than planned because there is a sequence of marks that interact to portray the subject. When I pick up a brush or a trowel and lay down a line, the tool plows up paint and changes the mixture of color. I have to choreograph that interaction between one layer of detail and another. It always takes me somewhere I don’t expect.”
James Pringel Cook was born in 1949 in Topeka, Kansas. He received his M.F.A. from Wichita State University in 1972. He currently lives in Tucson, Arizona.
Cook’s paintings are in the best tradition of American landscape painting. He is an artist absorbed with the process of painting. He paints quickly and creates richly colored, highly textured surfaces. While his work is reminiscent of the Abstract Expressionists, it differs from them in that it projects a recognizable realty, dictated by his personal vision and technical skills. His paintings are bold and monumental in scope. Whether he depicts the ripples upon the surface of still pools in mountain streams or the color studies of a stormy sky, his use of color and contrasting textures and techniques invite the viewer into the scene.
Cook often returns to Kansas to paint, en plein air, the Flint Hills and other local landscape, often using a hardware store as his studio. His paintings are a consummate demonstration of years of hard work, of looking at and inhaling the landscape and rendering it in a unique and dramatic way.