Melissa Cooke is a graphite on paper fine artist dealing with complex and dark subject matter. Using a dry brush Cooke creates thin layers of graphite on paper which she then erases for highlights. This process gives her works a photorealist quality and a certain softness that removes heavy line work. In her “Vacuum” series she depicts faces trapped within plastic bags gasping from the air constriction. The artist says of this series “'The Vacuum’ series humors society's fascination with violence, death and insanity.” “Vacuum” is an intense group of works to encounter and the stunning execution draws you into this uncomfortable union with the art.
In her earlier series “Masked” from 2008 the artist explores animal masks to transform her human subjects into more primal characters. Cooke has an interest in obscuring her subject with layers either psychological or physical that create a barrier between the subject and the viewer. The technical skill and psychological angle of these works make Cooke’s art engaging and honest.
See more of Melissa Cooke’s art at http://melissacookeart.com/, http://www.emptykingdom.com/featured/melissa-cooke-is-the-woman-of-graphite/ and an interview with the artist http://www.jsonline.com/blogs/entertainment/121829728.html