Eileen Cooper
Passions: New Work on Paper
26 February - 4 April 2002
LONDON Front Room


To celebrate her election to the Royal Academy in 2001, Art First is giving Eileen Cooper exhibitions of new work on paper in New York and in London this Spring. She will show for the first time as a full member in this year's Royal Academy Summer Exhibition in London.

Passions is manifestly an expression of the artist's exuberance and her intense interest in what it means to be alive. The predominating nude figure is part self-image, part archetype: lover, mother, creative being and mischievous goddess. The dancing, sensuous figures exude primal energy and physical well-being, counterbalanced in the latest works by an inward-gazing self-scrutiny typical of modern women who are psychologically aware and profoundly curious.

Images with a mirror have their origins in Utamaro's 18th century Ukiyo-e woodblock prints. These evocative expressions of a bygone age have exerted a powerful influence on Western art since their 'discovery' by Degas and Toulouse-Lautrec. Eileen Cooper transforms the toilette theme through her strong expressionist sensibility into a deeply intuitive exploration of self and other, sometimes confronting darker, fugitive aspects. The visual play of reflection continues in depictions of contented image makers: a woman brushes an image of a lover onto a piece of paper, a potter caresses a pot or encounters a hidden presence within the clay. In tone, these are playful and richly seductive works.

Two major linocuts underscore a new development in her printmaking. Peace and Search are printed on to fine Japanese paper in small editions of ten. Cropped to the edge of the format, the splendid figures are depicted with a linear vibrancy and a luminosisty that are explosive in their aliveness, their passion and their tenderness. These qualities resonate through all of Eileen Cooper's art, which embraces a strong academic training fired by her ongoing exploration of non-European cultures.

Eileen Cooper has exhibited for over twenty years and is represented in public and private collections including the British Council, the Victoria & Albert Museum, and Manchester and Birmingham City Art Galleries. In 2000 she completed a residency and exhibited Raw Material to wide acclaim at the Dulwich Picture Gallery. Art First congratulates Eileen on her well-deserved election to the Royal Academy.