Lia Cook: Weaving and Innovation

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story and photography by Alyssa Morrow


Artist Lia Cook visited the UW campus last Friday, bringing her recent work to Madison. Lia was featured at the Design Gallery in the Human Ecology building for her exhibit Weaving and Innovation. The title of the exhibit was a perfect fit, as Lia’s large woven portraits translated an innovative statement of the connection between science and the arts.

Lia’s art intertwines weaving, photography, media and science into large woven portraits. The subjects of these portraits are individual faces, each being more unique than the next. She creates these pieces on a large electric loom, where she can hand guide the threads to form the image. But Lia’s most prominent artistic touch comes from the presence of the emotional response in each image: With the help of neuroscientists, she has captured images of neural responses in the brain to emotional reactions. She then integrates these neural images in her pieces to emphasize the emotional response to woven images.

The first piece of Lia’s that struck me was Mona Lia, one of the most magnificent pieces at the exhibit. Like most of the woven pieces shown, Mona Lia was woven from cotton and rayon fibers. In this piece, Lia captured images of neural fibers from her own brain and included them as part of the image.

Mona Lia

The second work that seemed popular among the crowd was Iteration Series. While talking to Lia about the piece, she explained, “All of these images are the same, but viewers say that each image triggers a different emotional response.” She achieves this flux in emotional response by using various colors and patterns.


Weaving and Innovation will be open in the Design Gallery of the Human Ecology building on Linden Drive until April 6th.

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