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The colorful and frenetic window installation that stops you in your tracks on Barnard Street is the work of Chatham County artist Tricia Cookson. This work was created for Boxed In/Break Out, Telfair Museums’ newest competition that asked local artists to propose an original artwork installation to activate six windows at the Jepson Center.

Although many artists submitted compelling proposals, Cookson rose to the challenge with an idea that demonstrated originality, visual appeal, and resourcefulness in an unconventional space. Guest judge Linda Dougherty, Chief Curator and Curator of Contemporary Art at the North Carolina Museum of Art, stated that “Tricia Cookson’s proposal is a very creative approach to engaging a public space. Starting with a seemingly simple concept—a series of colored strings—her installation evolves into a complex pattern that fully utilizes and activates the space in an unexpected and highly visually appealing way, as it progresses from being boxed in to breaking out.”

Close-up of artist Tricia Cookson's 2016 Boxed In/Break Out installation at Telfair Museums' Jepson Center in Savannah, GA.
Close-up of artist Tricia Cookson's 2016 Boxed In/Break Out installation.

Cookson’s work consists of cotton cord in 10 colors that stretch from small hooks across the space in evolving patterns. A chaotically contained design of string fills the first window, with each subsequent configuration becoming more ordered until the colors all unify in the center of the final window. The materials were chosen to reflect the Lowcountry, as the cotton cord represents regional cotton farms and the colors evoke the marshy terrain. Even the number of cords has local significance, with the 5 strands of 10 different colors connoting the 50th anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act and the designation of Savannah’s National Historic Landmark District

Cookson’s artist statement reveals that she “draws inspiration from familiar surroundings and daily routine. Exploring the effects of densely scheduled activities and over-stimulation in contemporary life, her work addresses notions of physical and mental tension. Rhythm, repetition, and ritual inform her process. Employing chance elements and time-based procedures, [she] creates pieces that serve as documents of meditative episodes – artifacts of the opposing forces of intense focus and interruptive distraction. She brings order to chaos and chaos to order.” The sentiments of repetition and opposition certainly pervade her work at the Jepson Center, engaging the viewer in a mental dance from randomized tension to ordered release.

This exhibition is organized by Telfair Museums and curated by Erin Dunn, Assistant Curator.

About the Artist

Currently, Cookson teaches art at Hancock Day School. She graduated from the Savannah College of Art and Design in 2013 with a MFA in fibers and has had several exhibitions in Savannah, most recently Ubiquity and Balance at Desotorow Gallery. Her work Pods is part of the permanent collection at the SCAD Museum of Art.

About #art912

#art912 is an initiative dedicated to raising the visibility and promoting the vitality of artists living and working in Savannah through exhibition opportunities, public programs, and outreach.

Related to this exhibition

All(5)
exhibition

Boxed In/Break Out 2017

Jepson Center
Emily Bowser’s Boxed In/Break Out exhibition, Effloresce, consists of six canvases where complex matrices in joyful colors reveal themselves.
exhibition

Boxed In/Break Out 2019

Jepson Center
Folklore is a site-specific installation by Jessica Pope for the 2019 iteration of Telfair Museums’ annual Boxed In/Break Out project. The installation consists of six large-scale paper quilts centered around the Kodachrome slides, filled with stories of the past that evoke a comforting sense of nostalgia.
exhibition

Boxed In/Break Out 2018

Jepson Center
A sense of home is a site-specific installation by Ron Longsdorf for the 2018 iteration of Telfair Museums’ annual project Boxed In/Break Out. The installation references the literal construction and metaphorical associations of the word “home.”
exhibition

Boxed In/Break Out 2017

Jepson Center
Emily Bowser’s Boxed In/Break Out exhibition, Effloresce, consists of six canvases where complex matrices in joyful colors reveal themselves.
exhibition

Boxed In/Break Out 2019

Jepson Center
Folklore is a site-specific installation by Jessica Pope for the 2019 iteration of Telfair Museums’ annual Boxed In/Break Out project. The installation consists of six large-scale paper quilts centered around the Kodachrome slides, filled with stories of the past that evoke a comforting sense of nostalgia.
exhibition

Boxed In/Break Out 2018

Jepson Center
A sense of home is a site-specific installation by Ron Longsdorf for the 2018 iteration of Telfair Museums’ annual project Boxed In/Break Out. The installation references the literal construction and metaphorical associations of the word “home.”
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