Nigel Cooke is an English artist who explores the way that 21st-century painting can enter into dialogue with, and possibly change, the trajectory of art history.Read More
Nigel Cooke divides his time between London and Kent. He received his BA in Fine Art from Nottingham Trent University in 1994, an MA in painting from the Royal College of Art in 1997, and a Ph.D in Fine Art from Goldsmiths, University of London, in 2004.
Nigel Cooke had his first solo exhibition at Chapman Fine Arts Gallery, London, in 2000, but only four years later he gained international attention with Art Now: Nigel Cooke: a solo exhibition at Tate Britain. The paintings he exhibited were vast landscapes that told a tale of dereliction, decay, and horror.
Drawing on the epic tradition of 19th-century landscape painting, in which majestic vistas were almost unaffected by humans, Nigel Cooke's early landscapes were instead overly desecrated by travellers until they were nothing but toxic wastelands littered with skulls, car husks, and graffiti. In 2005, he claimed that his landscapes suggested 'a cultural frontier between the edge of one civilisation and the beginning of another'.
Nigel Cooke has gone on to show his work across North America and Europe, at institutions and galleries including the Moderna Museet in Stockholm, the Museo Tamayo in Mexico City, Blum & Poe in Los Angeles, and Andrea Rosen Gallery in New York.
As his audience has increased, Nigel Cooke has continued to expand the language of painting, stating in Interview Magazine in 2012 that 'Abstraction for me is almost like a fundamental principle of organization in painting. In a way, all paintings are abstract. The conflict between abstraction and figuration is really a 20th-century art historical narrative.'
Over time, Nigel Cooke's formerly tightly detailed landscapes have become more diffuse, not only verging towards abstraction, but also losing their intricate detail. His most recent work is entirely abstract, composed of single colours painted in dense, gestural brushstrokes on raw linen canvasses. They explore the endless potential of the line as a means of expression. He cites artists such as Willem de Kooning and Francis Bacon, as well as Spanish painting and Chinese silk painting as influences.
In 2014, Nigel Cooke became represented by Pace. As a result, he has exhibited at their galleries in London, Hong Kong, and New York, and his work has been included in group exhibitions in locations such as Cape Town, Vienna, and Santa Barbara.
Nigel Cooke's work is in a number of permanent collections, including those of The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Tate, London; and The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.
Biography by Ocula | 2020