ARTIST STATEMENT --"S"
I have not-so-subtly called attention to the fact that this page contains more than one "Artist Statement"; something fairly uncommon, from others I've seen. Since uncommon seems to be my own personal adjective, I'll just roll with it. It is because there are many things that make up who I am as a person, an artist, a writer... A duality runs through most things that involve "ME"...
1.)We'll start out with the milquetoast one that started my new career back in 2005:
"It seems only natural to me that I work primarily in MIXED MEDIA. My whole life - even my ancestry - seems to involve opposites coming together to form a mystical, sometimes precarious, balance. Artists/scientists, music to mathematics, dance & disability and just being a mixed-blood American Indian salted with Anglo come together to form who I am. The one golden thread that ties all of the previous together is my Christ-centered spirituality. It is this very quilt of elements that is behind every piece of art I create. I hope that my art, like myself, will be able to show you something new everytime you take a look. My foundations in art began over 20 years ago. Most remembered was something my art teacher told me that would later be echoed by my vocal jazz teacher,"you can only build a beautiful house when the plain concrete foundation is firmly in place." I work in MIXED MEDIA -- acrylic paints with vintage jewelry, reclaimed leathers and other textiles. Even though my work is often figurative, I always notice some of those "foundational rules" pulling the whole piece together. I love storytelling, so every piece I make will tell you something; Nearly half of my pieces deal with the inner world and outer influences of those - like myself - who live with chronic and intractable pain. My "Native Storyboards" use the materials I've mentioned and present folktales from my Cherokee, Choctaw and Mayan heritage. Others tell of the stories we make every day just by being brave enough to live with our whole heart.
2.) Next - one I am most proud of , actually. It was written by my brother Ryan. It is entitled...
ABOUT THE ARTIST
The Artist is Radene Marie Cook. The Artist is also my older sister. I know my sister, have known my sister, all my life, just about thirty-five years. What is most important to know about Radene Marie Cook requires that lengthy perspective in order to be seen and then related to you here.
My sister has always been LOUD. Not just in an audible sense, but in everything imaginable. Her music, her beautiful singing voice and gift with musical instruments were ever present and anything but quiet, but she made herself heard in dance, theater, her clothes, her friends, her opinions, choices and in the way she lived life. Day and night, on the outside and even more so on the inside, living LOUD. Radene, before the onslaught of horrific pain and stress, was an ever present symphony of life that I knew would always be there. Until it wasn't.
How the Pain took her is not as important as the fact that it very nearly silenced her. Singing and dancing gave way to the inability to weep or moan for fear of losing herself in the anguish of hearing the sound. Her silence haunted me. But my sister is LOUD. She fought for her presence of mind, then fought simply to be heard, and then again to be heard and taken seriously. Her body was breaking, but my sister is LOUD. And then she got LOUDER.
She was finally heard, and found help. One would have thought she would quiet down, living now with a manageable, but still constant of pain. Instead she decided to stay LOUD, helping to give a voice to others who Pain had silenced.
Radene's art is, well... LOUD. It's the song she doesn't sing anymore, it's the dance she can never, ever dance again, the applause of the crowds that will not see her on stage, the radio waves her voice no longer travels... it's the children she will not have. All of it rolled into one and poured out onto canvas, showing both chaos and beauty.
The Artist, Radene Marie Cook will be effervescent, charming and smiling as you see her today. She will pay for that smile in Pain tomorrow and for several more days to come. She knows this, but still... my sister is LOUD."
----May I just say, with family like that, I feel truly blessed!!-