Works from the Studio, is a collection of paintings, watercolours and drawings from the studio of the late Barrie Cooke. In collaboration with his heirs, we have curated an intimate show spanning almost fifty years of practice of one of Ireland's leading contemporary artists.
Barrie Cooke is widely considered one of our leading abstract expressionist aritsts. His paintings are cherished for their dynamic, immediate, visceral connection with their subject matter. Early training at Skowhegan in the US and at Oskar Kokoschka’s School of Vision in Salzburg helped to shape the urgent vitality of his pictorial approach – a vitality reflected in the artist’s personality. Renowned curator Rudi Fuchs, who organised an exhibition of his work in the Hague’s Gemeentemuseum in 1992, saw his work as linked to that of Kokoschka and Jack B Yeats.
In 'Works from the Studio', a Sheela-na-Gig from 1960 is the earliest work in the exhibition and a series of watercolours made at Cill Raillaig in 2008, the latest. Landscapes from South Africa and New Zealand, a bone work from 1972, a classic Cooke nude from 1986, a portrait of John Montague and a Hot Tub painting represent other established periods brought together in this mini survey.
Barrie Cooke had a long and illustrious career. His approach to the environment was as sincere as it was unsentimental. This aesthetic was a response both to the intellectual and the beautiful. In our times of heightened political awareness, Cooke’s values hold an honesty we would do well to cling to.