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Christopher Cook has worked in monochrome for twenty years, having developed an idiosyncratic medium from graphite powder and resin. These works have been the subject of many international solo exhibitions including at Heidelberger Kunstverein Germany, Yokohama Art Museum Japan, Today Art Museum Beijing, Memphis Art Museum USA and Ryan Lee Gallery New York, as well as in the UK at Towner Art Gallery Eastbourne, and the Ferens Gallery Hull. His work received a prize at John Moores XXI and first prize in the New Light exhibition 2017-18, and is held in major international collections, including Cleveland Museum USA, Minneapolis Museum of Art, USA, Yokohama Museum of Art, Japan, Yale Centre for British Art, USA, the British Museum UK, Fitzwilliam Museum Cambridge UK, and four works in the Metropolitan Museum of Art New York.
Cook appreciates Odilon Redon’s position that “one must respect black, nothing prostitutes it. It does not please the eye and it awakens no sensuality. It is the agent of the mind far more than the most beautiful colour of the palette or prism”. He also speaks of connections between the use of greyscale and early photography, and of how his process combines aspects of both drawing and painting.
His current graphite images are based on 17th century Dutch Still Life painting, a preoccupation that began with simple transpositions of major paintings, but has now become an important series. Of these works Cook says:
“A clear intention of the Dutch genre is as display of wealth and power, and the closer I looked, the more the genre seemed to represent colonialist expansionism and a ‘coming of age’ of capitalism and materialism. This invited the insertion of elements to explore contemporary implications of the tradition, elements suggestive of capitalist discord: exploitation, conflict, protectionism. I want to maintain a balance between reverence for the original works and this destabilising tendency”.
Selected Solo shows
York Art Gallery
Ryan Lee Gallery New York
Hubner and Hubner Gallery, Frankfurt, Germany
Art First London
Ryan Lee Gallery, New York
Langgeng Foundation, Jogjakarta, Indonesia
Mary Ryan Gallery New York
Fine Art Society London
Today Art Museum, Beijing
Mary Ryan Gallery, New York
Yokohama Museum of Art, Japan
California State University Long Beach
Art Museum, University of Memphis, TN
Mary Ryan Gallery, New York, NY
Diboll Gallery, New Orleans, USA
Hirschl Contemporary Art, London
Eden Project, Cornwall, UK
Koraalberg Gallery, Antwerp
Ferens Museum, Hull, UK
Hirschl Contemporary Art, London
Towner Museum and Art Gallery, Eastbourne
Heidelberger Kunstverein, Germany
Selected Group Exhibitions
Layers of Visibility, NiMAC Nicosia
New Light, Tullie House Carlisle
Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize, Mall Galleries, London
Art First @ Eagle Gallery London
New Light, Bowes Museum, Co Durham.
Langgeng Fundation Jogjakarta, Indonesia
John Moores Liverpool
Flow Szechuan Art Academy, Chongqing, China
Graphite GVArt, London
Amalgam, Mary Ryan New York
Dust on the Mirror, ICA Singapore
Drawings for the New Century, Minneapolis Museum of Art USA
Grey, Fitzwilliam Museum Cambridge
Dust on the Mirror, Djanogly Gallery, Nottingham UK
Triangle Gallery, Chelsea School of Art London
Spazi Aperti, Accademia di Romania, Rome, Italy
Leaded, Salina Art Gallery, Kansas, USA and tour
Tempo Reale, British School at Rome, Italy.
Trace and Transience CCANW Devon
Until it Makes Sense, Gallery Seventeen, London.
Thaddaeus Ropac Gallery, Paris
Yale Center for British Art USA
Recent Acquisitions Cleveland Museum USA
Drawing Weatherspoon Art Center, N Carolina, USA
East of Eden Spacex Gallery Exeter
Crossing the Border Morley Gallery, London
West by South West, Stavanger Kunstmuseum, Norway
John Moores 21, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool (Prizewinner)
New Light First Prize
Bogliasco Foundation Fellowship, Liguria, Italy
Resident Artist, Langgeng Foundation, Jogjakarta, Indonesia
PAS Scholar, British School at Rome
British Council Award, Beijing
Daiwa Award, Yokohama Triennial
British Council Award to University of Memphis, USA
Arts Council England Residency, Eden Project Cornwall UK
AHRC award, Bundanon Trust, Australia
John Moores XXI Prizewinner
1979-81 B.A. English Literature and Fine Art, University of Exeter
1983-86 M.A. Painting, Royal College of Art London
Currently: Reader in Painting, University of Plymouth