Contemporary Six is pleased to present a solo exhibition by Richard Cook for the 33rd (online) edition of the London Art Fair. From Wednesday 20th January, our stand will be open to the public. There, you can navigate our viewing room and access a series of audio clips in which the artist will speak about his process and inspiration. We will also be providing a virtual exhibiton space here on our website.
This exhibition constitutes a re-introduction of Richard Cook, one of Britain’s most unique painters who captures figures and landscapes like no other.
This year marks 50 years since Richard attended the Royal College of Art. In this time, Richard has evolved his approach and technique — moving away from the process-heavy, layered works he created under the tutelage of Leon Kossoff, with whom he shared a studio after graduating.
Whilst Kossoff was a key influence for his earlier paintings, Richard’s identity is unique. Kossoff and Auerbach sought resolution in their paintings, looking for the subject to emerge over years, even decades, with an impetus on the texture of the work; but over the past half a century Richard has forged his own way, becoming ever more instinctive, quick and elemental in his mark-making. From small boards of a few inches to canvases of more than two metres across, he paints quickly, even desperately, completing the large works (180cm x 200cm) rapidly — often in minutes. Using brushes and his hands, he paints with speed and force, allowing the image to float free from constraint.
Whether he is painting portraits or landscapes, Richard’s intention is to discover, in each work, the energy that birthed it — an emotionally driven action, a first impulse, or in his words, a yearning. He is not so much trying to express something through painting, as giving form to something he knows to be already out there.
Discernible in his work, Richard is as inspired by natural forces as he is by Romantic English poetry of the 18th, 19th, and 20th Century (Clare, Keats, Hopkins, Pound, Raine etc.). He looks towards the interaction between experience of place or subject, internalised memory, and emotional creative force. When these are fused, the result is a painting that might be animated or tranquil, violent or intimate, tragic or joyous — but full of recognisable authorship. Richard asserts that his painting is an attempt to embrace that which is out of reach. In his reaching for it over the past decades, he has become a contemporary painter whose ability to adapt the way he processes the world around him, and reinvent himself, has broken new ground, and gained a new language.
Richards work is held in the Tate, the Arts Council, The British Museum, and the Deutsche Bank collections, as well as many other private collections throughout the UK, Europe, and the United States.