Christopher Cook (artist)

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Christopher Cook (born 1959)[1] is a British painter known for works since 1998 in graphite powder and resin, which have been exhibited in, and collected by, several major museums, predominantly in the USA.[2]


Cook’s works since 1998/9 have been almost exclusively monochromatic, painted and drawn in graphite powder suspended in resin and oil, onto coated papers, aluminium sheet, or linen. The surfaces of what he terms ‘graphites’ are extremely thin, and involve much reworking but almost no layering. The images have considerable range in terms of subject matter. Formal connections to Daguerreotype, Photorealism, lithography and Surrealism have been noted in reviews[3]

In some works, especially those arising from an Arts Council residency at Eden Project,[4] there is a strongly microscopic component, emphasized by the intricacy of the graphite surfaces, and sometimes linked to Baroque architecture.

Cook is represented by Ryan Lee Gallery, New York,[5] and by Art First London. He is also a writer, and has published a number of artist books and collections of poems,[6] and has also contributed catalogue essays,[7] exhibition and book reviews.


Studied: 1979-81 BA English Literature & Fine Art, Exeter University (University poetry prize). 1983-86 MA Painting, Royal College of Art.

First solo show at Camden Arts Centre in 1985. Awarded Italian Government scholarship in 1986 and moved to Italy for three years. During this time his strongly coloured, symbolic work received curatorial attention, and was included in the exhibitions Eros in Albion[8] at the Casa Massaccio, and in da Bacon a oggi, Palazzo Vecchio Florence.[9]

In 1991/2 he was Guest Artist to the Stadelschule[10] Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany, and the following year was Visiting Fellow at Ruskin School, Oxford University.[11] In 1994/5 he was Distinguished Visiting Artist to California State University, Long Beach, USA.

From 1995-97 he made three extended visits to India, working mainly on texts, sand drawings and an artist’s book. On returning to the UK he made the first of his monochromatic ‘graphites’, and has rarely used colour since. He attributes the change to experiences in India, the influence of the sand drawings, and the benefits of grayscale to the imagination. He has lectured extensively in the UK, the USA, and the Netherlands. In 1998 he was appointed Reader in Painting at the University of Plymouth[12]

A graphite was selected for John Moores 2014,[13] and another was a prizewinner at John Moores 21.[14] In 2017 he was first prizewinner (Valeria Sykes Award) in the Biennial New Light exhibition, touring four venues in the UK. [15]


Solo shows (graphite works)

Selected group exhibitions (graphite works):


Allen Memorial Art Museum, USA; British Museum, UK; Bundanon Trust, Australia; Cleveland Museum USA; Contemporary Arts Society UK; Fitzwilliam Museum Cambridge UK;[17] Haugesund Art Gallery Norway; Hereford Museum, UK; Metropolitan Museum New York USA; Minneapolis Museum of Art, USA; MIMA, Middlesbrough, UK;[18] Today Art Museum Beijing, China; University of Exeter, UK;[18] Yale Center for British Art, USA; Yokohama Museum of Art, Japan;

Recent Awards[edit]

  • 2001 Arts Council England Residency, Eden Project Cornwall UK
  • 2005 Daiwa Award, Yokohama Triennial
  • 2005 AHRC award, Yokohama Triennial
  • 2006 British Council Award, Beijing
  • 2011 Residency, Langgeng Foundation, Jogjakarta, Indonesia
  • 2013 Bogliasco Foundation Scholarship, Italy
  • 2017 Nicosia Municipal Art Gallery Residency
  • 2017 New Light Exhibition First Prizewinner (Valeria Sykes Award)


  1. ^ Art Net
  2. ^ "Search the Collection - The Metropolitan Museum of Art".
  3. ^ "Christopher Cook - Graphites".
  4. ^ "Christopher Cook (born 1959), recently appointed artist-in-residence to the remarkable". The Spectator Archive.
  5. ^ "RYAN LEE Gallery: Christopher Cook: A Sign of Things to Come".
  6. ^ "Oversteps Books".
  7. ^
  8. ^ (curated by Antonio Del Guercio ISBN 9788843530090)
  9. ^ Curators : Lores, Maite; Patrick, Keith (Published Electa, Milan, 1991)
  10. ^ "Städelschule - Kalender".
  11. ^ "The Ruskin School of Art - Home Page".
  12. ^
  13. ^ "John Moores 2014 exhibitors - Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool museums".
  14. ^ "John Moores 21, 1999".
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^ a b Paintings by or after Christopher Cook at the Art UK site

Sources/external links[edit]