Thursday 1 February 2018

Essay: Eileen Cooper: Under the Same Moon at Letitia Gallery, Beirut

Catalogue essay for
Eileen Cooper: Under the Same Moon 
Letitia Gallery, Beirut

They stood there marvelling at the forest,
gazing at the lofty cedars

When Eileen Cooper visited Lebanon in the autumn of 2017, she too, like the ancient Sumerian demigod and king Gilgamesh some three millennia earlier, was inspired by the lofty cedars. An artist whose work has long drawn on the symbolism of and mythology associated with trees, she was struck by their beauty, size, and stability. The artist and writer Emily Carr (1871-1945), describing her native Canadian cedars, noted: ‘Cedars are terribly sensitive to change of time and light – sometimes they are bluish cold-green, then they turn yellow warm-green – sometimes their boughs flop heavy and sometimes float, then they are fairy as ferns and then they droop, heavy as heartaches.’ Cooper, with a shared artist’s sensibility, felt similarly enchanted. Upon her return to London, wanting to make works responding to these great trees, she set out to seek a nearby specimen, eventually chancing upon one in Greenwich Park, south London, which became her model, in as far as she ever uses one, helping to prompt as she began to draw.

Read the full essay in the catalogue

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