Wednesday, 2 October 2013


Art First Gallery, Eastcastle Street W1W 8DD

EDGE TO EDGE is open until October 12
Gemini, Oil on canvas, 137 x 168, photograph Justin Piperger
Spring Fever, Oil on canvas, 168 x 137 Photograph Justin Piperger

 The title of this exhibition Edge to Edge draws attention to Cooper’s intriguing use of space. Soles of feet often press down on the edges or are partly obscured by them. A forehead, a shoulder or a toe are mischievously cropped, as if the painter had miscalculated the size of the canvas. The effect is of a snapshot - we are seeing a fleeting moment which will never be repeated. 

It's also playful - women, men and children having a jolly time, while animals casually wander in. Cooper's subjects are often surrounded by artefacts and imagery, part romantic, part commonplace, which defy a neat response. The dogs in Gemini are entering into the carefree spirit of the moment, as are the birds in Spring Fever. Meanwhile the cautious fox in Spring Fever has her eyes on the artist (and the viewer).    Cooper's bold lines and formal composition act as containers for a luscious use of colour, and the candid, alert, intelligent gaze of many of her figures is one of her hallmarks. 

Her previous show at Art First in 2011 was called Showing Off. It’s a wonderful title, packed with meanings. On the one hand you can legitimately ‘show off’ (or showcase) a product or an amazing skill as a pianist or an athlete, but small children used to be regularly castigated for ‘showing off’ by drawing attention to themselves – a pretty dress, a spectacular jump, a clever answer.The people inhabiting Cooper’s paintings have no such worries.  Many turn to gaze straight into the artist's eyes (and ours). The painted observe the painter. No one is discomforted.

Eileen Cooper is a painter and a printmaker. In 2011 she was the first woman to be elected Keeper of the Royal Academy. In the same year Jeanette Winterson, novelist and journalist, was the Speaker at the Royal Academy of Arts Annual Dinner. She said: 
Standing still in front of art – letting art happen to us – letting art overwhelm us, gives us the courage to stand still. The courage to look intensely at what we are
looking at. To see. To feel. And after that, not before, comes thought. 

1 comment:

  1. Hello Everybody,

    Below are the most recommended BITCOIN exchange services (BUY/SELL):
    Coinbase: $1 minimum trade

    Get free Bitcoins with the best BITCOIN faucet rotator: Faucet Rotator