Inspired by nature and the world around him, James Cook’s canvases are powerful evocations of nature’s majesty. Cook’s artwork has been described as monumental, but the essence of a Cook painting is contained in a singular brush stroke, line, and marks he orchestrates on canvas. Each stroke, each line, each mark is a distinctive note contributing to a chorus that echoes and resounds in a grand symphony. The viewer may be inspired by the grandeur of colorful and untamed worlds created by Cook, but it is the radiance of the painted surface that invites one to plunge into the depths. There is a lush quality to the surface of the canvas that is visceral, and even as you are engaged in the ripples of still pools, the patterns of fall foliage, or the complex patterns of a city skyline, it is the thick impastos and scraped textures that engage the senses in the expressive temperament of the medium. It is obvious that James Cook is in love with paint. To experience his paintings, whether a cityscape or a landscape, is to comprehend the spirit of color, depth and movement. His love of beauty finds its way onto the canvas as he strives to create visual excitement. Cook compares himself to the Abstract Expressionists in the way that he works, noting that there is a great deal of invention in the paint itself.
Cook who is always drawn to powerful images of the Sawtooth and Wood River Valleys incorporates the magnificence and subtleties of the seasons, with his deft use of light and color. The moods of this spectacular environment are captured and preserved in his paintings on canvas. Cooks newest paintings on paper, while smaller in scale, have a fresh and energetic interpretation of Idaho and the surrounding environs that draw the viewer to strong visceral responses.