Jenik is a painter in the tradition of such visual theorists as Gorky, Kandinsky, and Motherwell. Absorbing and processing a vast range of material, from ancient languages to modern painting movements, her works convey a sense of confidence over this broad spectrum of experience. Jenik's taste for the primeval is evidenced in her discovery of the original mark: "You don't care if you ruin a piece of paper: it's just a piece of paper. But recently I've been thinking that the real creativity is often on a piece of paper." This tenet of Modernism has become fundamental to Jenik's work.
Her often biomorphic shapes and lines, coupled with her bold use of color infuse her paintings with richly exotic symbolism in the style of Miro and Leger. Early on, she took a cue from Munch whose work inspired her to put her life story in visual form. Now, Jenik's work tells that story abstractly with a vibrancy and expression that move from the container of her picture into the viewer's psyche. Her work is a celebration of generous form and color.
Jenik has painted all her life. Her work reflects a personal love for invention and creating new relationships. The certainty of Jenik's marks shows conviction and beauty. The works are master-pieces of impulsiveness, as they are also impulsively moving.
“Jenik’s Exaltations” by D. F. Colman
What we sense and feel in Jenik’s recent works are the cumulative energies of grand modern masters such as Sam Francis’ work of the late seventies, Miro’s elaborate overall works of the fifties, and the propulsive surges of Franz Kline, albeit softened with just the right touch of Jenik’s ever-present lyricism.
Jenik’s gestural abstractions remind us of the philosopher Shelling’s comment that art was the resolution of an infinite contradiction in a finite object. How true this is of Jenik’s artwork. She has arrived at a point in her mastery where she creates works that are pictorially engaging on formal levels but also philosophically teasing and profound in imagery. The artist’s visionary exaltations refer to the enigmatic presence of lived life aware of itself and of its limitations, yet pressing on and filled with a sense of infinite possibilities. This vision is a fine legacy for us as viewers to bask in.
- D.F. Colman is an arts writer residing in Manhattan.
Jenik Cook, a California resident who has amassed a most impressive resume with shows spreading out from Scotland to New York, and many right here in Southland. Cook's work has often been compared to the great modernists of the past, Kandinsky and Motherwell. While perhaps a compliment, this also seems a disservice to her striking talent.
Cook possesses something more than a painter following in the footsteps of others before. There is a supreme depth to her work that captures a newer sense of Modernism, something that is sadly missing from the current art scene. If any comparison is to be made it should be to other greats like that of Jackson Pollack, illustrated beautifully in her "Pure Energy #5." The work, like Pollack's, is a multiplex of colors in droplets and splashes, something that might appear frantic and unintentional from a distance but upon closer inspection reveals a bold, controlled style.
Cook's abstract portraits, very similar to another great, Pablo Picasso, art a testament to a natural gift of balancing cubism and free form, perfectly captured in her piece, "Inseparable #9" piece. Her shapes and lines infuse her paintings with a richly exotic symbolism of style. There is purpose and psychology to her work, conveying a sense of confidence from a broad spectrum of experience.
Cook's distinction as a modern painter is in her grace and amplitude in creating works that are engaging and powerful. They make more than a mark - they make a statement generating alluring and fasincation canvases. This is more than apparent in her dramatic "Untitled #38" Calder himself would have been most proud.
Jenik was a 1st place prize winner of 2010's American Art Award.