Lia Cook works in a variety of media combining photography, weaving, painting, and digital technology. Working together with neuroscientists she currently explores the nature of the emotional response to the tactile quality of woven faces using the tools of the neuroscience laboratory.
Lia has always been interested in tactile, haptic, and has had a very physical relationship with materials. Early work from the 1970's used visual and tactile techniques to create illusionary but actual "Fabric Landscapes", large scalework often commissioned for buildings throughout the United States or exhibited in the International Biennial of Tapestries in Lausanne Switzerland in 1973,75,77,86,92. In the 80's and 90's her work evolved from fabric landscapes to using textiles and drapery as subject matter in painted and woven artwork. The "New Master Draperies" Series used details from paintings of the Old Master and Mistresses, "Material Pleasures" showed the sensual touch of fabric on the body.
From 2000 to the present she has explored the touch of the hand on fabric, the emerging body and finally the face. In her current work on the woven face she collaborates with neuroscientists in her investigations which involve both scientific and artistic processes.
Research has been an important part of her work from early work in Europe on 19 century Jacquard to the recent Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship (SARF) to look at the tactile nature of faces with the Portrait Gallery. Currently research in neuroscience of emotions as well imagery of the neural connections in the her own brain have been integrated into her work including use of data visualization from public participation in the studies... Research has been a stepping stone and inspiration for Lia's artistic process.
Lia Cook exhibits her work nationally and internationally, most recently in Liege, Belgium; Chicago, IL and Hangzhou, China. Her works are in the permanent collection of the MOMA, NY; Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY, Minneapolis Institute of Art; Cleveland Museum of Art; Denver Art Museum Smithsonian Museum, Washington DC; Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco; Oakland Museum, The National Collection, France; Musee Bellerive, Switzerland; National Gallery of Australia; Zhejiang Art Museum and the National Silk Museum, China.
Lia graduated from UC Berkeley as undergraduate and graduate. She taught as a Full Professor at the California College for the Arts since 1975, recently retired emeritus.