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Manifest Scholar in Residence 2020/2021

Seth Cook

Seth Adam Cook (b. 1993) is an artist born and raised in the Bayou Teche region of south-central Louisiana, an area known for the community's connectedness to the land. After experiencing the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the poisoning of the Gulf Coast caused by the BP Oil Spill, he became motivated to confront the injustices which befell the Bayou Teche community and ecosystem. He completed his Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in 2015 and holds an MFA degree in Photography from Indiana University, Bloomington. In 2018 while earning his Master's, he gained recognition as a HASTAC scholar (Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory) for his experimentation with laser-cutting technology, the results of which were presented at the Institute for Digital Arts and Humanities 2019 Spring Symposium. His work has been displayed nationally and internationally, including in South Korea, Louisiana, New York, California, Colorado, Massachusetts, and Indiana.

Artist's Statement:

"The practice of controlling nature originated to manipulate the environment for humanity's benefit. On the Gulf Coast, this manipulation takes the form of off-shore oil drilling, fracking, levee steering, embankment division, and pipeline transports. Despite disasters such as the BP oil spill, these practices continue today, further leading to the erasure of the southern coastal region—its ecosystem and communities.

The photos that make up this body of work were taken on the Bayou Teche in Louisiana. They contain landscapes, swamp-scapes, and pictures of loved ones that come together on the same picture plane. Through the process of image transfer, the photographic surface is exploited as though it were wet paint. This manipulation leads to the warping, removal, smearing, or re-application of the original image, allowing the surface area to build up a grotesque-like texture. This texture becomes symbolic of the evident destruction taking place and how the local communities are at risk as much as the environment. The catastrophe surrounding the Gulf is something still grieved. It has been so long since Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil spill, and yet the damage remains on the bottom seafloor, waiting to resurface. My most recent body of work, 'What I Saw in the Water,' brings memories from the Gulf Coast into the contemporary space, reflecting the grief and sorrows of past catastrophes that still haunt many to this day."

The images pictured at right are a sampling of those submitted with Seth's application.

As Scholar in Residence, which is ordinarily a Manifest Drawing Center role, Seth will have the unusual assignment of being based out of our MAR West Studio at the Gallery on Woodburn Avenue, while also spending significant time at the Drawing Center and our darkroom facility housed there in Walnut Hills.

See more and learn about Seth's work here:

The Scholar In Residence Program (SIR) at Manifest contrasts with the Artist In Residence Program (MAR) in a number of ways. Primarily the SIR is intended to support the study, practice, and exploration of the artist in one or more focus areas. This may be related to theory, aesthetics/criticism, teaching, studio/curricular operations, or studio-based art making. The nature of each resident's interest and focus will naturally determine the kinds of documentation provided across the year.

Information on how to apply for future SIR or MAR awards can be found here.



application artwork

application artwork











 Josephine S. Russell
Charitable Trust

Manifest is supported by sustainability funding from the Ohio Arts Council, and through the generous direct contributions of individual supporters and private foundations who care deeply about Manifest's mission for the visual arts.

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