Golden Age Selected works by Christopher Cook
Following his involvement in the major exhibition at York Art Gallery: “Making a Masterpiece”, Saul Hay Gallery is pleased to announce the exhibition of internationally renowned artist Christopher Cook.
The pieces in this exhibition were created in response to ideas and images from the seventeenth century ‘Golden Age’ of Dutch painting, particularly Still Life, and its subgenre, Vanitas painting.
Cook’s approach is to regard the Golden Age as a mixed blessing, in which cultural and scientific progress is undermined by colonialist and capitalist exploitation, and he captures some of these contradictions in these works, updating the debate for our contemporary age.
Christopher Cook took his M.A. in Painting at the Royal College of Art, London. After three extended visits to India in the 90s, he developed a specific process in which graphite powder combined with resin is worked thinly on sheets of coated paper or aluminium, and he has not used colour since. The graphite works lie somewhere between painting and drawing, having a fluid and expressive beginning but a more detailed and drawn finish.
In his current works, the act of transposing key images from Dutch Golden Age painting into black and white gives them an immediate irony, allowing the artist to take liberties with form, content and meaning.
For the York City Art Gallery show, he produced five new ‘graphites’ (as he terms them) in response to works in York’s permanent collection to replace the original five works selected by York for the show. Saul Hay is delighted to be able to bring the two groups of images to be viewed together for the first time.
Cook has been a recipient of an Arts Council England fellowship at Eden Project Cornwall, a British School at Rome award, and has held Visiting Fellowships to Oxford University, the Frankfurt Stadelschule, and California State University, Long Beach.
His major solo exhibitions include Camden Arts Centre London, Memphis Art Museum, USA, Towner Gallery Eastbourne, Yokohama Museum of Art, Japan and Heidelberger Kunstverein, Germany. He was awarded first prize in the 2017 New Light exhibition, and in October 2019, he won the Sunny Art prize, which will lead to a Shanghai residency and exhibition in 2020.
Cook’s work is held in major public collections including the British Museum, the Metropolitan Museum New York, Fitzwilliam Museum Cambridge, Minneapolis Art Museum, and the Yale Center for British Art. He is currently Reader in Painting at Plymouth University, and is represented by Mary Ryan Gallery, New York.