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b. 1973, United Kingdom

Nigel Cooke Biography

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.

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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

Exhibition view: Nigel Cooke, Pace Gallery, Seoul (2 September–24 October 2020). Courtesy Pace Gallery.

Nigel Cooke Featured Artworks

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Untitled (Cove) by Nigel Cooke contemporary artwork
Nigel CookeUntitled (Cove), 2020Acrylic on paper mounted on cardboard
24 x 17 cm
Pace Gallery
Reader by Nigel Cooke contemporary artwork
Nigel CookeReader, 2020Oil and acrylic on linen
210 x 150 cm
Pace Gallery
Athlete (detail) by Nigel Cooke contemporary artwork
Nigel CookeAthlete (detail), 2019Oil and acrylic on linen
224.9 x 164 cm
Pace Gallery
Bather by Nigel Cooke contemporary artwork
Nigel CookeBather, 2019Oil and acrylic on linen
224.9 x 164 cm
Pace Gallery
Beach House Ruins by Nigel Cooke contemporary artwork
Nigel CookeBeach House Ruins, 2019Oil on linen
48 x 40 cm
Buchmann Galerie Contact Gallery
Study for Beach Fires 2 by Nigel Cooke contemporary artwork
Nigel CookeStudy for Beach Fires 2, 2019Oil on paper
76 x 57.5 cm
Buchmann Galerie Contact Gallery
Study for Beach Fires 1 by Nigel Cooke contemporary artwork
Nigel CookeStudy for Beach Fires 1, 2019Oil on paper
76 x 57.5 cm
Buchmann Galerie Contact Gallery
Spring Bathers by Nigel Cooke contemporary artwork
Nigel CookeSpring Bathers, 2019Oil on linen
220 x 205 cm
Buchmann Galerie Contact Gallery

Nigel Cooke Current & Recent Exhibitions

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Contemporary art exhibition, Nigel Cooke, Nigel Cooke at Pace Gallery, Seoul
Open Now
2 September–24 October 2020 Nigel Cooke Pace Gallery, SeoulSeoul
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Show, Group Show East Hampton at Pace Gallery, New York
Closed
22 July–2 August 2020 Group Show Group Show East Hampton East Hampton, 68 Park PlaceNew York
Contemporary art exhibition, Nigel Cooke, New Paintings at Pace Gallery, New York
Closed
31 January–29 February 2020 Nigel Cooke New Paintings Pace Gallery, New YorkNew York

Nigel Cooke Represented By

Pace Gallery contemporary art gallery in New York, USA Pace Gallery New York, London, Geneva, Palo Alto, Hong Kong, Seoul, Beijing

Nigel Cooke In Ocula Magazine

Frieze New York Viewing Room Sales Exceed Expectations Ocula News Frieze New York Viewing Room Sales Exceed Expectations New York, 8 May 2020

Galleries have reported stronger than anticipated sales at Frieze New York's Viewing Rooms, which opened to VIPs on 6 May. The online event, initiated after the physical fair was cancelled due to COVID-19, opens to the public from 8-15 May.

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Nigel Cooke Recalibrates Abstraction Ocula Insight Nigel Cooke Recalibrates Abstraction By Brienne Walsh, New York

Since the beginning of his practice, Nigel Cooke has tried to bring figuration and abstraction into the same conversation. At Pace Gallery and Pace Prints in New York, two exhibitions demonstrate Cooke's shift towards total abstraction.

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Nigel Cooke In Related Press

What exhibitions to see during Frieze Related Press What exhibitions to see during Frieze 4 October 2016, Whitewall

While in London next week for Frieze, don’t forget to get out of the fair tents and explore the many exhibitions on view at galleries and museums around town. Here is a non-exhaustive but selective list that should keep you busy. William Eggleston Portraits at The National Portrait Gallery in Covent Garden July 21-October 23 This...

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Nigel Cooke In Video & Audio

Nigel Cooke on remixing his process and our place in nature Related Video & Audio Nigel Cooke on remixing his process and our place in nature 5 February 2020, Pace Gallery

Ahead of his first solo exhibition at Pace Prints, we sat down with painter Nigel Cooke to discuss his first body of work in the monoprint medium and the companion set of etchings that he created for the show. Cooke also describes adapting his practice to this new medium, the ideas behind his work, and what representations of humans and animals...

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