Don Cook is a visual artist (works-on-paper, sculpture, photography and painting) who came to Baltimore in 2003 as a resident artist with Creative Alliance (2003-2006). Prior to this residency opportunity he had spent over a decade in the mountains of Western Maryland (Garrett Co.) implementing arts education and community arts projects, while maintaining a studio work-life centered on contemporary rural and Appalachian themes.
The artist began teaching part-time at MICA in 2005, and has been an instructor with the school's Young People's Studio (YPS) Program, the Foundation Department, Continuing Education, and the Masters of Arts in Art Education (MAAE) Program. He is currently the Studio Investigations instructor for the MAAE Program, and teaches Sketchbook, as well as special topics courses, with Continuing Education. The artist also works with The Maryland Historical Trust, a state preservation organization, where his duties include mapping, architectural drawing, and site recording and inventory.
Don Cook's studio work develops out of his notebooks – a daily compilation of ideas, drawings, and found material such as images, fragments of conversation, or quotes. The drawings are usually on-site studies, frequently of architectural subjects. The artist's images of spare streetscapes and interiors have been described as "mysteries-in-waiting" – empty, enticing spaces that the viewer populates with their own apprehensions, curiosity, or wonder. Central to his recent work are the "visual translations" of Emily Dickinson's poetry – works-on-paper, maquettes, paintings, and photographs of small pavilions based in the formal structure of Dickinson's poems. Like their poetic source, these works offer spaces that are enigmatically atmospheric, yet economical in structure. His recent use of the photograph to "extend" the sculptural dimension of the Dickinson project has also prompted a series of new thematic investigations which use photographic studies to explore narrative tableau based in architectural models. The artist is represented by C. Grimaldis Gallery, Baltimore.
Selected Solo & Group Exhibitions
- MICA Faculty Exhibition, Maryland Institute, College of Art, Baltimore, MD.
- The Elusive Surrounding, C. Grimaldis Gallery, Baltimore, MD.
- Don Cook: Solitary Woman in A Glass House: Visual Translations of Selected Emily Dickinson Poems, American Institute of Architects (AIA), Baltimore, MD Chapter.
- Landscape & Nature: A View from Maryland, MD Secretary of State's Office Touring Exhibition.
- Don Cook: Paintings, Allegany Arts Council's Saville Gallery, Cumberland, MD.
- Don Cook and Kevin MacDonald: City Stories, Creative Alliance, Baltimore, MD.
- Art Noir, Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts, Annapolis, MD.
- Build, Artscape, Baltimore, MD.
- 9 + 9, School 33 ArtsCenter, Baltimore, MD.
- Concept in Form: Artists' Sketchbooks & Maquettes, Palo Alto Arts Center, Palo Alto, CA.
- WPA/Hemicycle Exhibition, Corcoran Hemicycle, Washington, DC.
Photo by J.M. GIORDANO, PHOTOGRAPHER