Cook, Richard (b.1947)

Richard Cook is a British painter living and working in Newlyn, Cornwall. Born in Cheltenham in 1947, he spent his early childhood in Sri Lanka. From 1966 – 70 he trained at St Martin’s School of Art, London, and at the Royal College of Art until 1973. Whilst initially influenced by his teacher and mentor Leon Kossoff, with who he shared a studio for 3 years in the early 1970’s, Cook went on to develop his own voice and unique style inspired by the land and seascapes of Cornwall. He has been exhibiting for over twenty five years and has received awards from the British Council and the Arts Council. In 2001 he was given a solo show at Tate St Ives, with a related publication, and a major painting was acquired for the collection in 2006. He lives in Newlyn.

As Cook says in his own words:

“It is wilderness that inspires me. I paint the land, sky, the ocean, and tree. My subject is the seen world of nature. The horizon disappearing behind the ocean; the land curving into a strange tilt; and the air buzzing with an ecstatic presence as a chant humming the experience of the outdoors. The early childhood that I spent in Ceylon has perhaps created memories that now permeate my work. And in looking back unknowingly I painted open spaces even when living in London; looking for what is intrinsic in landscape.

In my mind the trees and watery spaces, the grey expanse of distance, – that seems to wrap itself as sensuously loving arms around the boundaries of the land, – are all elements of an incantation. The journey from the seeing to the doing lies in somehow discovering a personal vocabulary, which through the economy of painting returns the thing experienced back into my own world. It is an engagement with the abstract broadness of form, rather than the minutely observed, changing topographical identity into a new dynamic delineation of a place. This mapping in paint is akin to a repeated walk along a known pathway where space, re-invented, becomes a liminal margin of light and colour. And so I am caught in an endless cycle or rhythm, exploring the rawness of being inside the landscape itself.”

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