21 March - 21 April 2006
Following our encounter with Cook's work in Mixed Doubles last summer we present a project room show selected from an extraordinary recent body of paintings.
From tiny panels encrusted with paint to expansive, iridescent watercolours on paper to one majestic painting on canvas, the story of an artistic inner need is presented here, expressing visually the subjective and psychological thing that is landscape.
The artist wears his knowledge of art and literature from the past lightly. Landscape is already an extremely well trodden lane and this is the challenge accepted. His subject is focused on the notion of the poetics of emptiness, and the abstraction of wilderness. It is true that they are in essence 'landscapes', but more than that, and apart from their specificity of place and titles, these works are a personal foraging through spaces of light, broken horizons, and air.
In this series of paintings, - of sites the artist works from in Cornwall - the minutiae of pictorial dogmatic constraints disappears, making space for the pleasure of colour for its own sake to emerge, allowing the image to breathe the air, the light, the land, sea and sky.
Richard Cook has lived and worked in Cornwall since moving there 20 years ago. Born in 1947 and trained at St. Martin's and the Royal College of Art, London, he has been exhibiting for over 25 years. He has received awards from the British Council and the Arts Council, examples of his paintings are held in many private collections in Europe and the USA. Public collections include the Arts Council, the British Museum and Manchester City Art Gallery.
In 2001 the artist was given a solo show at Tate St. Ives, with an inspired essay by Michael Archer in its related publication Luminous. Susan Daniel-McElroy, the director of Tate St. Ives, has also written on Cook's work.