Nigel Cooke
British, born 1973
Blue chip
Represented by internationally recognized galleries.
Collected by major museums
Tate, Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)

Situating his works alongside the historic landscapes of the 19th century, British painter Nigel Cooke creates epic paintings of a desolate imagined world. Combining abstraction and representation in planes of sweeping color with moments of microscopic detail, Cooke begins with detailed sketches on the canvas, covers them in white paint, and then excavates the layers below. “It really does remind me of archeologists with dinosaur bones, where you’re dusting off the soil around it to raise this thing out of the earth,” Cooke has said. Such explorations result in what he calls “hybrid theatrical spaces,” graffiti-strewn landscapes in putrid colors populated by haunting figures, symbols for the anxiety of modern life and the search for creative expression—as well as a tool for exploring the artist’s own relationship with painting.

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