Lia Cook: Fibers in the Brain, Pixels in the Weave

“I’m almost as interested in how a scientist responds to my work as I am about how the artist or art critic does.” — Lia Cook.


Working in a variety of media combining weaving with painting, photography, video and digital technology, Cook explores the sensuality of the woven image and the emotional connections to memories of touch and cloth. She investigates the nature of the emotional response to woven faces by looking at the fiber connections of communication between parts of the brain and integrating these fiber tracks with the actual fiber connections that make up the woven translation of an image…


Known for her relentless innovations in woven form since the late 1970’s, Lia Cook began the 21st century producing heroic scale weavings from photographs of her childhood self and her dolls’ faces, where individual threads coalesce only at a distance into the needed resolution for perceptually grasping the image. Up close, the viewer is caught in the materiality of thread as dimensional object, how it serves to build the image structure literally in the over/under of thousands of threads at a time…

Her work demands we see the big picture architecture of threads in full physical ontology as well as image-generating- three-dimensional-pixel-by-pixel potential.


–Excerpts from “Witty Agents” (catalog essay), by Geraldine Craig for the exhibition Lia Cook, Weaving and Innovation: Digital Fibers Converse with Neural Networks, Design Gallery, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2013.

View Cook’s process in PBS’ “Craft in America” series here.

Photos (top to bottom):

  1. Lia Cook, “Facing Touch,” cotton, rayon; woven. 54×51 inches (
  2. Lia Cook, “Intensity–Su-Data,” cotton, rayon; woven. 52×39 inches (
  3. Installation shot of exhibition: Lia Cook, Weaving and Innovation: Digital Fibers Converse with Neural Networks, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2013.

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