new-york

Nigel Cooke

Andrea Rosen Gallery

He might previously have been considered a cityscape specialist, but British painter Nigel Cooke turned explicitly toward the figure in his third solo exhibition at Andrea Rosen. Still, in five epic canvases, nine tiny ones, and ten shrunken bronze heads, Cooke intensified the ominous mood established by his earlier work, picturing a cast of end- time antiheroes and continuing to narrate some of painting’s many and still-accumulating deaths. Absorbed by the idea that completing an image necessarily implies destroying or absorbing its predecessor, and fascinated by the possibility of enfolding representation within representation (“If paint can describe a tree and a man,” he once asked, “then what happens when it describes a painting?”), Cooke dives ever deeper into the treacherous waters of self-reflexivity. Fortunately, the relaxed confidence of his brushwork provides a vital breath of

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