Ethan Cook – The Tactility of Color and Fabric

Born in Tyler, Texas in 1983 and based in New York, Ethan Cook is a process-oriented artist who rethinks the boundaries of traditional painting. Instead of painting his canvases with pigment, he weaves colorful panels of fabric on a four-horse loom, creating abstract, geometric artworks by sewing the woven pieces together. Through this unconventional approach, Cook combines craft, materialism, and minimalism in a harmonious and innovative way.

In Cook’s work, weaving becomes a meditative yet intensely rhythmic process. Each movement, each thread pulled or knot skipped, adds a unique character and makes each work one of a kind. The colored surfaces of his canvases are reminiscent of the color field painting of artists such as Mark Rothko and Kazimir Malevich, embracing abstraction, scale, the logic and beauty of color, and the interplay of structure and chance.

Ethan Cook, Untitled, 2013, Handwoven cotton canvas and canvas, in artist's frame, 76.2 × 61 cm © The Artist, Image Courtesy Philips
Untitled, 2013, Handwoven cotton canvas and canvas, in artist’s frame, 76.2 × 61 cm © The Artist, Image Courtesy Philips
Ethan Cook, Five alabasters, white, 2020, Handmade pigmented paper, 50.2 x 49.5 cm © The Artist, Image Courtesy Nino Mier Gallery
Five alabasters, white, 2020, Handmade pigmented paper, 50.2 x 49.5 cm © The Artist, Image Courtesy Nino Mier Gallery

In addition to his canvas works, Cook has also made small-scale works from handmade paper. Regardless of the medium, Cook invites the viewer to perceive, beyond specific themes, the material and the creative process – the presence of the artist’s hand and the aesthetics of a practice that is at once artisanal and industrial.

Ethan Cook is an artist who, in a postmodern era, reminds us that a blank canvas is not only a challenge but also an opportunity – an ode to craft and the subtle transformations of material. His work is a sensual and profound dialogue between the viewer, the colors, and the fabric – an inviting and exciting exploration of tactility in Contemporary Art.

I wanted to take the painting out of painting and put the color into the fabric… this led me to making the canvas

Ethan Cook1
Ethan Cook, Flowers of Spirit II, 2023, Hand woven cotton and acrylic on aluminum, 101.6 × 76.2 cm ©The Artist, Image Courtesy Nino Mier Gallery
Flowers of Spirit II, 2023, Hand woven cotton and acrylic on aluminum, 101.6 × 76.2 cm ©The Artist, Image Courtesy Nino Mier Gallery
Ethan Cook, Untitled, 2013, Hand woven cotton canvas and canvas, in artist's frame, 205 × 154 cm ©The Artist, Image Courtesy Philips
Untitled, 2013, Hand woven cotton canvas and canvas, in artist’s frame, 205 × 154 cm ©The Artist, Image Courtesy Philips
Ethan Cook, Purple Moon, 2021, Hand woven cotton and linen framed, Hand woven cotton and linen framed ©The Artist, Image Courtesy Loyal Gallery
Purple Moon, 2021, Hand woven cotton and linen framed, Hand woven cotton and linen framed ©The Artist, Image Courtesy Loyal Gallery
Ethan Cook, Untitled, 2014, Hand woven cotton canvas and canvas, in artist's frame, 241.3 × 193 cm ©The Artist, Image Courtesy Philips
Untitled, 2014, Hand woven cotton canvas and canvas, in artist’s frame, 241.3 × 193 cm ©The Artist, Image Courtesy Philips
Ethan Cook, Snatched, 2023, Hand woven cotton and aluminum, 101.6 x 101.6 cm © The Artist, Image Courtesy Nino Mier Gallery
Snatched, 2023, Hand woven cotton and aluminum, 101.6 x 101.6 cm © The Artist, Image Courtesy Nino Mier Gallery
Ethan Cook, Trap Door, 2023, Hand woven cotton and paint on aluminum, 127 × 152.4 cm © The Artist, Image Courtesy Nino Mier Gallery
Purple Moon, 2021, Hand woven cotton and linen framed, Hand woven cotton and linen framed ©The Artist, Image Courtesy Loyal Gallery

Further Reading / Resources

1 https://www.debrockgallery.com/artists/ethan-cook

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethan_Cook

https://www.miergallery.com/artists/ethan-cook

https://www.artsy.net/artist/ethan-cook

Aesence is an independent art and design publication dedicated to minimalist aesthetics. Founded out of a deep appreciation and fascination, Aesence aims to promote awareness and appreciation of minimalism in art and design.