The current work in Montserrat College of Art’s Frame 301 Gallery is by our very own faculty member Greg Cook! The Saddest Forest on Earth, installed Tuesday March 25, will be on view through Friday, April 18.
Greg hosted a special parade event, The Saddest Parade on Earth, that marched along the sidewalks of Beverly’s Cabot Street beginning at 11 am this past “Sad-urday,” March 29. The parade featured sad banners and signs, as well as a sad accordionist. The parade concluded at The Saddest Forest on Earth, at the Frame 301 Gallery. The exhibition is a large diorama of an enchanted forest of crying, cartoony trees.
The sad truth: Artist confronts sorry state of affairs with exhibit, parade (excerpt)
By Will Broaddus, The Salem News, Staff writer
Sometimes we don’t know whether to laugh or cry.
Artist Greg Cook captures this mixture of emotions in “The Saddest Forest on Earth,” a unique grove of trees he created for Montserrat College of Art’s 301 Gallery on Cabot Street in Beverly.
“It’s sort of like a poor man’s, do-it-yourself, wacky Disneyland kind of thing — but more disconcerting,” said Cook.
Painted on cutout fabric and ranging from 6 to 8 feet tall, Cook’s trees wear sad faces, while a shower of tears falls through their branches. They occupy the gallery’s window and present their mournful expressions to the traffic and pedestrians on Cabot Street.
“The space is 3 feet deep; it’s like a shallow diorama,” Cook said. “Mostly, I do cartoony kind of work. I do some illustration, some gallery or fine art, and it all has a cartoony sensibility.”
But if his trees look like they belong in a comic strip, they are also sharing a serious emotion that Cook believes is common these days.
“It’s a mix of serious and playful things,” he said.
Cook will also be giving a talk about his work “Remaking Our Sad World: From Community Activism to World-Building” on Monday, April 14, at Montserrat’s Hardie Building.
“The talk is about the relationship between, on the one hand, actions in the real world, trying to make it more fulfilling,” he said. “Then also, with the trees, it’s about inventing fantasy worlds.”
In Cook’s mixture of art and activism, difficult problems are addressed, but with a comic touch that lightens their burden.
Read Cook’s full feature in The Salem News.
*If you would like to volunteer to walk in the parade, contact Greg Cook at Gcook30@hotmail.com. Participants are asked to wear dapper outfits and help carry a sad banner or sign. The artist says, sadness is a helpful qualification, but not required.
In addition to being a teacher at Montserrat, Greg Cook is an artist, journalist and writer based in Malden, Massachusetts. The Saddest Forest on Earth is an offshoot of his “Enchanted Forest” series, which imagines a place of magical trees and birds and witches and hungry wolves. It is inspired by the history of New England, as well as Disney films and McDonald’s restaurant playgrounds. Parts of the series have appeared at Aviary Gallery in Boston; 17 Cox in Beverly; Zeitgeist Gallery in Lowell; Window Arts Malden; the Malden Parade of Holiday Traditions, and the restrooms of Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts.
For more information on Greg Cook, please visit: