press release

Nigel Cooke. Oceans

Nov 11, 2020–Jan 14, 2021

The paintings featured in this exhibition display a significant stylistic shift in the artist’s oeuvre, with a more performative and kinetic approach to gesture. These recent works, all executed in tones of blue, are at once meditations on the sea and responses to characters in Homer’s Odyssey.

Nigel Cooke is known for his evocative paintings which blend personal memories with art historical influences, classical themes with abstract interpretations of the natural world.

Executed with a masterful array of techniques and applications of paint, these atmospheric and often epic compositions weave figures and environments together, reflecting a complex interplay of memory, chance, and intuition. The figures that appear in them are not portraits of individuals but hybrids of many—combinations of found photographs, observation, and invention.

While constructed in spatial layers corresponding to features of landscape—including areas of sky, architecture, geology and plant and animal life—the paintings balance that figuration with abstract techniques and sensibilities that distort the language and the surface of the image. Cooke uses ambiguity and fragmentation as strategies in his work, collapsing the distinction between genres such as abstraction, figuration, landscape, and still life.