Return to Roots

At River Muse Art Gallery - Clayton
Opening Night July 3
Opening Night July 3(River Muse Gallery)
Published: Jun. 16, 2021 at 3:44 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 2, 2021 at 11:51 AM EDT
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“Return to Roots” John Elwood Cook & Kari Zelson Robertson

Guest Artist Feature

Opening Reception SATURDAY, JULY 3

3 PM EDT – 7 PM

Refreshments served and live entertainment

Exhibit on display until August 31, 2021

The talk of the town this July 3rd will be “Return to Roots” and the Clayton Fireworks display. All are invited to join us for “Return to Roots” a posthumous retrospective of John Elwood Cook’s varied watercolor, mixed-media assemblages, collage and pen & ink artworks. This joint feature will also spotlight the enormously talented, modernist clay master Kari Robert Zelson.

John’s Son Jesse and friends and family will perform John’s songs at the opening reception.

Refreshments will be served.

Thank you to event sponsors Jake Johnson Properties, Focal Point Custom Framing, Reinman’s Department Store and Orion Gallery and Studio.

Artist Bios -

John Elwood Cook:

A man with a sharp mind, a sardonic humor and a deep comforting voice. His love for the mighty St. Lawrence River ran deep and true and evident in so much of what he did. Fishing, art, music, family, the day to day. All for the love of the River. John was a respected art teacher, prolific songwriter, musician and artist with a special connection to the St. Lawrence River. As a fourth-generation resident of the 1,000 Islands, he captured the essence of the river through his artwork and music.

John found a niche in combining his visual art with music. Many songs that were created and inspired with his art in mind can be found on his YouTube channel jjcook72.

His successful art career was recognized on both the local and national level. His prize-winning artwork ranges from non-traditional watercolors to abstract relief assemblages with raised canvas. Cook was juried into more than thirty national shows including Art of the Northeast, Watercolor USA, Cambridge National, Chautauqua National Exhibition, Adirondack American Watercolors and the Frederic Remington Art Museum, where he was awarded “Best in Show” several times. His work appeared in many juried shows at the Thousand Islands Art Center and the Frederic Remington Museum. Other notable achievements include participating in the Adirondack Watercolor National Exhibition at The View in Old Forge, NY. He was a lifetime member of the Silvermine Guild and had a one-man show there early in his career.

John passed away Wednesday March 20, 2019 at Smilow Cancer Center in New Haven. He was the husband of Judith (White) Cook. John was born September 12, 1946, in Herkimer, NY, the son of the late John J. and Camilla (Krisher) Cook. He was an art teacher in Wallingford for his entire career, most recently at Sheehan High School until his retirement in 2002. His students were very important to him and he entertained them with his humor as well as teaching art. Besides his wife of 51 years, John is survived by his son Jesse of Greenfield Center, NY; his daughter Allison Latcheran and her husband Jeffrey of Pittsburgh, PA; his grandchildren Connor, Courtney and William; as well as his dog Asta.

Kari Zelson Robertson:

Is a ceramic artist living and working in her home studio/gallery in Ithaca, NY. See her work at the local artists’ cooperative, Handwork on The Commons, Ithaca, NY, and/or The Potters’ Gallery, in Penn Yan, NY.

A member of the Greater Ithaca Art Trail, Kari participates in all open studios, first Saturdays of the month, as well as the open trail weekends, traditionally in the middle of October.

A former K-12 Art Educator, Kari enjoyed teaching at the Clay School, a community ceramics education studio in Ithaca. The studio is temporarily closed, due to the pandemic.

Kari began working in clay in college, while pursuing her degree in Art Education. She continued her clay education with some graduate work in ceramics with John Gill and Wayne Higby at Alfred University. In 2014 She was a partial scholarship student at Penland School of Craft in Penland, NC. where She studied with David Eichelberger.

Kari’s forms are inspired by water environments and abstract geometric minimalist design. These vessels are to be enjoyed as sculpture and used functionally in the home. They function as serving bowls, platters, cups, appetizer trays, planters.

Media Contact: Hope Marshall, Email

River Muse Art Gallery & Studio: 315-285-5162

Kari Zelson Robertson Pottery
Kari Zelson Robertson Pottery(Kari Zelson Robertson)

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