Monday 22 June 2015

Interview with Eileen Cooper RA

Interview: Eileen Cooper RA
Hide and Seek: Drawings by Eileen Cooper RA 
John Madejski Fine Rooms, Royal Academy of Arts
29 May - 23 August 2015

Eileen Cooper (b1953) is a powerful presence at the Royal Academy this summer. An Academician since 2000, she was elected the first female Keeper in 2010. She has six works – in various media – in the annual Summer Exhibition and a retrospective of her drawings running simultaneously in the John Madejski Fine Rooms. A full-colour monograph of her life and works has also just been published.

Born in Glossop, Derbyshire, Cooper drew from an early age. At 17, she undertook a foundation course in art at the nearby Ashton-under-Lyne College of Further Education and, from there, she progressed to Goldsmiths and later to the Royal College of Art. At a time when conceptual art and performance were de rigueur, Cooper remained true to figuration, soon discovering that drawing from her imagination, instead of from life, gave her a freedom to express and explore ideas and themes that became important to her. Her often large-scale, brightly coloured, primal and primitive compositions followed Cooper on her journey through womanhood and motherhood, with their motifs and content invariably overshadowing discussion of their formal properties.

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