The whole is more than the sum of its parts. –Aristotle
Postmasters presents Accumulations, an exhibition of sculptural works by Monica Cook and Ye Qin Zhu. The two artists share a proclivity to employ and accumulate materials of almost any kind. Combining flora, fauna, detritus, craft supplies, and found objects, among more traditional media, Cook and Zhu treat matter with visceral consideration, and instill it with poetic formalism.
New works by Monica Cook highlight her attentiveness to the organic, as a concept and medium. Shards of glass and vintage gold-veined mirror coalesce with tree stumps and their roots. Desiccated branches flower with blown glass blossoms, glass globes, feathers, and starfish. Corn cobs are formal elements in an abstract painting as much as phallic figures or clouds. All of the biomaterial in these pieces are by definition dead, but Cook reanimates them with her dexterous, idiosyncratic sculptural sensibility.
Ye Qin Zhu's wall sculptures often begin with a multi-layered plywood surface, providing the substrate for dense and spiritual material accumulations. Peacock feathers, coyote teeth, glitter glue, glow-in-the-dark-stars, keyboard keys, electrical wiring, batteries, coral, crayons, beeswax, headphones – among hundreds of other objects, ranging from obscure to banal – are deeply personal to him, or simply compelling enough to collect. This is true of the mail and paperwork he uses for the pulp in his handmade paper, another foundational material to the work. Intently repurposing the meaningful yet arbitrary things that somehow come to define us, Zhu’s works have undeniable psychic charge.
Monica Cook (b. 1974) lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. Her exhibitions have been featured in Art in America, Hi-Fructose Magazine, The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Village Voice, The Wall Street Journal, Whitehot Magazine, and many others. In 2012, she was an artist in residence at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, and at the School of Visual Arts Studio Residency Program in 2004. She holds a BFA, summa cum laude, from the Savannah College of Art and Design, and is from Dalton, GA.
Ye Qin Zhu (b. 1986) was born in Taishan, China. He earned his BFA from The Cooper Union For The Advancement Of Science And Art in 2010. From 2014-2016, he was the director of Redwood Arts Studio, where he taught drawing and painting to the kids in the community he grew up in, Sunset Park, Brooklyn. In 2012, he co-founded Socotra Studio, a collaborative design and build studio. Zhu is the program coordinator at Art Palestine International (2008-2012; 2016-2017), a not-for-profit organization dedicated to exhibiting contemporary Palestinian art.