Richard Cook (painter born 1947)

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Richard Cook
Born 1947
Cheltenham, Gloucestershire
Nationality British
Education Saint Martin's School of Art, Royal College of Art
Known for Painting
Website Personal Website

Richard Cook (born 1947, Cheltenham, England) is a British painter living and working in Newlyn, Cornwall. Cook has been exhibiting for over twenty five years and has received awards from the British Council and the Arts Council. In 2001 he was given a solo show at Tate St Ives,[1] with a related publication,[2] and a major painting was acquired for the collection[3] in 2006. Further works are held in the British Museum collection.[4]

Early life and education[edit]

Cook spent his early childhood in Ceylon, upon his family’s return to England, he attended school in Oxfordshire. Cook went on to study at Saint Martin's School of Art, London (1966–70), and the Royal College of Art,[5] London (1970–73). As a child Cook was passionate about nature and learnt the names of trees, birds, fish and flowers. He spent countless hours near the river and woods in Oxford where he lived, feeling rooted through his experiences of nature. These are the things he loved as a child and is rediscovering as an artist living in Cornwall.[6]


Richard Cook, "Aurora", 2011

Cooks paintings deal with three things-the land, the sea and the sky. This arises out of close contact and observation of the countryside around his Newlyn home. Land and sea are in constant dialogue, each encroaching on and yielding to the advance of the other. Cook finds the bleak, rough, elemental and primeval aspects of nature attractive.[7]

Cooks creative process involves regular visits on foot to places of significance, whilst making sketches and observations in a notebook. Walking allows him time for inner reflection and for ideas to emerge free from the everyday.[6]

Like sculptor Richard Long, who was in the year above him at Saint Martin's, Cook transmutes his experiences of nature into his art. Cook incorporates his understanding of the English landscape tradition. He has strong a strong affinity with the English Romantic tradition, in particular the work of Thomas Gainsborough, John Romney and Richard Wilson, amongst others.[6]

Cook creates large paintings made to relate to the human body and fill the viewer's gaze. While studying with Leon Krossoff, Cook began to take a more primitive approach to painting.[5] Some of his older paintings have a weighty sculptural presence, with an appearance of being reworked over many years. Some of Cook's panels have been reworked over decades, leaving dense paint (sometimes 8 cm deep) and encrusted edges.[6] In more recent works his technique has developed where the actual execution of a large painting can be extremely fast, taking only three, four or five minutes. The canvasses reveal the speed in which they were created by their spare use of paint and large gestural brushstrokes.[5]

For Cook colours and emotion are strongly related and he gives the emotions a physical form, with subtle tones and hues. Colour sometimes appears as part of a paintings inner structure, at other times like a glowing cloud. Painting is an involuntary improvisation of painterly strokes, supposedly reminding us that elements shift constantly in an endlessly moving world.[6]

Notable Solo Exhibitions[edit]

2016 She lies within my sleep, Felix & Spear, London

2012 With Closed Eyes, Keslte Barton, Manaccan, Cornwall[8]

2010 Under the Summer, The Exchange, Penzance, Cornwall[9][10]

2008 Iridescence, Art First, London[11]

2006 Art First, London[12]

2003 New Paintings, Austin/Desmond Fine Art, London[13]

2001 Luminous at the Wayback Machine (archived March 7, 2001), Tate St Ives, Cornwall

2000 Austin/Desmond Fine Art, London

1995 Austin/Desmond Fine Art, London

1993 Galerie am Savignyplatz, Berlin

1992 Newlyn Art Gallery, Cornwall

1989 Odette Gilbert Gallery, London

1981 House Gallery, London

Notable Group Exhibitions[edit]

2012 Landscape, The Redfern Gallery, London[14]

2010 Meetings Of Dreams, The Wills Lane Gallery, St. Ives[15]

2007 Art Now, Tate St. Ives[16]

2006 Drawing Inspiration: Contemporary British Drawing, Abbot Hall, Kendal[17]

2005 Mixed Doubles, Art First, London[18]

1994 Inside Outside, Anne Berthoud Gallery, London

1993 Invited Artist, Summer Exhibition, Royal Academy, London

Recent Acquisitions, British Museum

1989 School of London, Works on Paper, Odette Gilbert Gallery

1987 Looking West, Newlyn Art Gallery and the Royal College of Art

1982 Summer Show, Serpentine Gallery, London

1981 Contemporary Artists in Camden, The Camden Arts Centre, London

1980 British Art 1940-1980, The Arts Council Collection, Hayward Gallery

1976-80 The Artist's Market, London

1976 The Human Clay, Hayward Gallery, London[19]



  1. ^ "2001 Luminous, Tate St. Ives, Cornwall". Archived from the original on March 7, 2001. Retrieved 3 July 2012. 
  2. ^ Archer, Michael (2001). Scapeland and inscape : the landscapes of Richard Cook; [Tate St Ives, 13 January - 11 March 2001]. St Ives: Tate [u.a.] ISBN 1854373781. 
  3. ^ "Richard Cook in the Tate Collection". Retrieved 3 July 2012. 
  4. ^ a b "British Museum collection". 
  5. ^ a b c Wright, Karen (1 March 2013). "The Independent - In The Studio: Richard Cook, painter". London. Retrieved 6 March 2013. 
  6. ^ a b c d e Cook, Richard (2003), Richard Cook : new paintings, Essay by Susan Daniel-McElroy, OCLC 71320034 
  7. ^ Michael Archer (2008). Richard Cook : iridescence : 14 October - 13 November, 2008. London: Art First/Contemporary Art. ISBN 1901993655. 
  8. ^ "With Closed Eyes, Kestle Barton". 
  9. ^ "2010 Under the Summer, The Exchange, Penzance, Cornwall". 
  10. ^ "Under the Summer, Exhibition catalogue" (PDF). 
  11. ^ "2008 Iridescence, Art First, London". 
  12. ^ "2006 New Paintings, Art First London". 
  13. ^ "2003 New Paintings, Austin/Desmond Fine Art, London". 
  14. ^ "2012, Landscape, Redfern Gallery". 
  15. ^ "2010 Meetings Of Dreams, The Wills Lane Gallery, St. Ives". 
  16. ^ "Art Now, Tate St. Ives". 
  17. ^ "Drawing Inspiration: Contemporary British Drawing, Abbot Hall, Kendal". 
  18. ^ "2005 Mixed Doubles, Art First, London". 
  19. ^ Britain, selected by R.B. Kitaj [for the] Arts Council of Great (1976). The human clay : an exhibition. [London]: Arts Council of Great Britain. ISBN 0728701014. 
  20. ^ "Tate Collection". 
  21. ^ "Arts Council Collection: Summer Morning, Lelant 2000". 
  22. ^ "Deutsche Bank London collection". 

External links[edit]