The Barrie Cooke exhibition showcases works spanning his entire career as an abstract expressionist painter from both private and institutional collections. A Rocky Road is a show investigating artistic production with an emphasis on the social realities that cultural invention has encountered in Ireland, several topics repeatedly arise: conservative reactions and protest to the growth of modern art, vandalism of artworks, and the newsworthy character of artists.
This exhibition will celebrate the work of Barrie Cooke’s immense career as he reaches his 80th Birthday this year.
Curated by Karen Sweeney, Assistant Curator at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, the exhibition opened at IMMA in June. A selected group of works have been chosen to tour to the Crawford Art Gallery in November and then to the Centre Culturel Irlandais Paris in February 2012.
The Barrie Cooke exhibition will showcase works spanning his entire career as an abstract expressionist painter from both private and institutional collections. The exhibition will explore Cooke’s continuous reference of the natural world; from the breathtaking paintings of an ancient Irish elk found in a bog and the bone boxes of the 1970s to the energetic paintings of rural Irish landscape and the famous nude portraits.
Much of Barrie Cooke’s career has been in Ireland where he moved to in 1954 from his hometown of Cheshire in England, and considers himself an Irish painter as his aesthetic as an expressionist artist developed in Ireland. Barrie Cooke had his first solo exhibition in Dublin in 1955 and has had major exhibitions including the Haags Gemeentemuseum in the Netherlands. Cooke is very well travelled and this has contributed to his unique style of work, from visiting places such as New Zealand and Malaya to even Lapland.
This exhibition will recognise the prodigious achievements of Barrie Cooke’s career and an extensive catalogue is available with a foreword by the Irish Museum of Modern Art Director Enrique Juncosa; and essays by poet Seamus Heaney, Karen Sweeney, Brian Dillion and an interview by Dorothy Cross.
A Rocky Road
An exhibition curated by Sean Lynch
A Rocky Road is an exhibition investigating artistic production and its reception in Ireland. With an emphasis on the social realities that cultural invention has encountered in the country, several topics repeatedly arise: conservative reactions and protest to the growth of modern art, vandalism of artworks, and the newsworthy character of artists with their many creative ideas and schemes are all prominent.
Through existing artworks, artifacts, and new commissions, the exhibition considers the underlying attitudes of what could be termed an ‘aesthetics of reception.’ Public response and the subsequent afterlife of an artwork are considered as themes of enquiry, as relevant as the creative intentions that bring the artwork into being. Populist reaction to exhibits, media coverage and reactionary politics have often opposed various forms of artmaking in Ireland over the last forty years. By focusing on and gathering together a selection of these instances into a common heritage, they can be considered more than occasional oddities in the progress of history. Instead their presentation might be viewed as a recurring antagonism that evidences the challenges art has posed to the public realm and Irish society at large.
A series of photographs by Gerard Byrne document an empty space where an Irish Pavilion for the Venice Biennale was once proposed to be built. John Carson’s A Bottle of Stout in Every Bar in Buncrana presents an artistic effort to obtain sponsorship from the Guinness brewery to distribute a poster about the consumption of alcohol. A new video by Nigel Rolfe reacts to a newspaper report of the 1970s of his sculptures being attacked in County Wexford. An overview is presented of alterations to and public controversy surrounding Eilis O’Connell’s The Great Wall of Kinsale, the largest sculpture in Ireland and the UK in 1987. Danny McCarthy sprinkles chalkdust erased from a Joseph Beuys blackboard after his lecture in 1974 around the gallery spaces of the Crawford. A collection of archival material from national broadcaster RTE charts the development of the formats in which art is presented on TV. Other presentations include a print by David Lilburn and photos by Owen South, the Tau Cross of Kilnaboy, Tim Rollins and KOS with Charles Haughey, the Irish Daily Mirror newspaper and the opinions of Pierre Restany.
A free booklet is available to accompany A Rocky Road exhibition.
Image: Nigel Rolfe, Into the Mire, Production still 2011
Anne Boddaert at the exhibition office: +353 (0)21 4907857 email@example.com
Opening Thursday, 17 November, 6-8pm
Crawford Art Gallery
Emmet Place, Cork
General Opening Hours
Monday - Saturday 10:00 - 17:00
Thursday 10:00 - 20:00