74459.jpeg

Nigel Cooke, Love, 2019, oil and acrylic on linen, 88-9/16" × 64-9/16" (224.9 cm × 164 cm) © Nigel Cooke

Nigel Cooke

Cooke.jpg
Details:

b. 1973, Manchester, United Kingdom

Connect:

nigelcooke.net
@nigelcookestudio

Nigel Cooke is known for evocative works that merge figurative forms with abstract and elemental atmospherics.

Since the late 1990s, Cooke has explored and stretched the boundaries of figurative painting, creating a highly diverse and distinctive body of work. More recently, his work has assessed this output, moving into a succinct language with which to investigate his wide range of interests.

Informed by a range of fields from palaeontology, neuroscience, classical mythology and zoology, the linear construction of Cooke’s latest paintings recalls brain circuitry, the human or animal body and landscape formations simultaneously. The artist is interested in folding familiar dualities such as the mind and body, or the human brain and the natural world, into a single fluid gesture. His organic abstractions are loaded with mammalian and geological fragments, creating an instability and movement in the image as well as an ambiguity between a vast array of natural associations.

Using notational sketches and paintings made on location at various sites around the world, Cooke distills his impressions of specific places and the people in them into a personal vocabulary of forms that evolves and repeats through time, with autobiographical material often infusing and directing the process. Developing an emotive and highly focused use of colour alongside these forms, Cooke’s calligraphic images are delicately balanced, with structure and collapse held together in a state of tension. The paintings contrast staining techniques on raw linen with classical techniques of layering and spatial depth, indebted to both abstract expressionism and the figurative compositions of European Classicism. Much of the work’s rehearsals and revisions are visible in the final image, which play fine, schematic areas against passages of gestural impasto. Cooke’s background in masterfully executed figurative painting provides the sense of drawing and representational rendering that permeate the abstract marks. In their unfixed and writhing otherness, they engage with the self as a porous system, in flux between animal states and prehistory, between the inner life and the ecosystems of the world at large.

Nigel Cooke studied at the Royal College of Art and Goldsmiths College, where he gained a PhD in Philosophy, writing about non-linear systems in the thought of George Bataille, Michel Serres and others. Making often atypical connections between disparate fields - cave paintings and surrealism, insect mimicry and information physics - his theoretical writings ultimately explored representation as a function of the natural world, and formed the basis of his conception of the value of painting and its possibilities.

His paintings are held in several of the world’s major public collections, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Tate Gallery, London; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Astrup Fearnely Museet for Moderne Kunst, Oslo; Milwaukee Art Museum.

79806.jpeg

Nigel Cooke, Vines, 2021, oil and acrylic on linen, 225 cm × 164 cm (88-9/16" × 64-9/16") © Nigel Cooke

79805.jpeg

Nigel Cooke, Loved, 2021, oil and acrylic on linen, 225 cm × 164 cm (88-9/16" × 64-9/16") © Nigel Cooke

76246.jpeg

Nigel Cooke, Calypso, 2020, oil and acrylic on linen, 225 cm × 164 cm (88-9/16" × 64-9/16") © Nigel Cooke

75800.jpeg

Nigel Cooke, Waterlilies, 2020, oil and acrylic on linen, 210 cm × 150 cm (82-11/16" × 59-1/16") © Nigel Cooke

75147.jpeg

Nigel Cooke, Oceans, 2020, oil and acrylic on linen, 88-9/16" × 64-9/16" (224.9 cm × 164 cm) © Nigel Cooke

75801.jpeg

Nigel Cooke, Helios, 2020, oil and acrylic on linen, 210 cm × 150 cm (82-11/16" × 59-1/16") © Nigel Cooke

74454.jpeg

Nigel Cooke, Actaeon, 2019, oil and acrylic on linen, 88-9/16" × 64-9/16" (224.9 cm × 164 cm) © Nigel Cooke

74460.jpeg

Nigel Cooke, Madrid, 2019, oil and acrylic on linen, 88-9/16" × 64-9/16" (224.9 cm × 164 cm) © Nigel Cooke

74458.jpeg

Nigel Cooke, Watching, 2019, oil and acrylic on linen,88-9/16" × 64-9/16" (224.9 cm × 164 cm) © Nigel Cooke

70701.jpeg

Nigel Cooke, Lovers in the Medici Garden, 2018, oil on linen backed with sailcloth, approximately 230 cm × 220 cm × 5 cm (90-9/16" × 86-5/8" × 1-15/16") © Nigel Cooke

70249.jpeg

Nigel Cooke, Sunset Bathers, 2018, oil on linen backed with sailcloth, 230 cm × 220 cm × 5 cm (90-9/16" × 86-5/8" × 1-15/16") © Nigel Cooke

70288.jpeg

Nigel Cooke, Artist's Garden 2, 2018, oil on linen, 220 cm × 205 cm × 5 cm (86-5/8" × 80-11/16" × 1-15/16") © Nigel Cooke

70251.jpeg

Nigel Cooke, Deer in Fall, 2018, oil on linen, 232 cm × 180 cm × 5 cm (91-5/16" × 70-7/8" × 1-15/16") © Nigel Cooke