Mother of the Clown: Mel Cook & Molly Colleen O’Connell

With Clothilde Cook "Ascension Turns In On Itself" in the Milwaukee Ave. Window Gallery

Opening Friday, May 18th 6–9pm

M/Other you are some kind of other. MOM WOW. You are a mirror my dear with a hole in the middle. Mother fucker I did it again. I’m so sorry, but that’s your origin isn’t it? A hole is a hole… fuck it, fill it up, milk it till it’s dry. If you check the clownopedia, you will find that the trickster is a goddess whose elastic body is on a desperate search for ecstatic pain and pleasure. The clown must fail to succeed, and so it risks never getting off.

Mel Cook is a visual artist currently living and working in Chicago, Illinois. She received her BFA from Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio in 2009 and her MFA from Illinois State University in Normal, Illinois in 2012. She has previously taught at Illinois State University and Illinois Central College and currently teaches at Marwen in Chicago, Illinois. Her work has been featured in Art in Print, Studio Visit magazine, and most recently in New American Paintings, Midwest ed. No 125. In 2016 she was a participant in The Center Program at Hyde Park Art Center and a resident at Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture in 2016 and ACRE in 2017. Most recently her work has been exhibited at Andrew Rafacz Gallery and The Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art in Chicago.

Molly Colleen O’Connell (b. 1986, FL) is an interdisciplinary artist based in Chicago, IL. Through sculptural installation, video, and comedic performance, she mixes unbelievable truths and strange fictions to create a world of perverted feminist hallucinations. MCO received her BFA at the Maryland Institute College of Art and her MFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her work has been performed, screened and exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago), Julius Caesar (Chicago), AALA Gallery (Los Angeles), Evening Hours (New York), Waiting Room Gallery (Tokyo), MOHS Exhibit (Copenhagen), and sophiajacob (Baltimore).

Clothilde Cook is someone who likes to tell stories and when they make things it is out of colorful scraps of overlooked detritus. This moment is a gift and that’s why it is called the present.  Ask them about dry ice!


The law of conservation of energy says that energy is not created nor destroyed, it is only transformed.   A soul decays just like a body, but no part is ever lost, just transformed or absorbed by other masses. Memory is tangible but so small, written into the DNA, so that sometimes when forming new masses that grow from fertilized egg to adult animal, memories of past lives are retained. This is complementary to the bulk of DNA accumulated directly from ancestors. This is how we can have both intergenerational memories and past life memories.