(1931 - 2014)
Barrie Cooke is widely considered one of our leading contemporary artists. He was born in Cheshire in 1924, but lived in Ireland since 1954 until his death in 2014. Brought up in Jamaica and Bermuda, Cooke moved to the US as a teenager and studied art history and biology at Harvard University. He was a major figure in the development of painting in Ireland, an environment which he found offered him fertile ground for his lifelong love of nature, and his twin passions of painting and fishing. Cooke travelled extensively. His journeys to Lapland, Cuba, Cape Cod, Mexico, New Zealand, Russia, and Madeira are viscerally depicted in his work. The formation, transformation and degradation of the environment have been constant motifs. Hugely respected by his peers for the commitment and integrity of his vision, Cooke had his first solo exhibition in Dublin in 1955 and the following year received a scholarship to study with Oskar Kokoschka in Salzburg. He developed deep friendships with several poets including the late Séamus Heaney, John Montague and Ted Hughes. He represented Ireland at the Paris Biennale in 1963 and exhibited widely throughout Europe, the US and Canada. Major retrospectives include shows in the Douglas Hyde Gallery (1986), the Haags Gemeentemuseum, The Hague (1992), and LAC, Perpignan, France (1995). His work is held by IMMA, the Ulster Museum, the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, the Haags Gemeentemuseum, and in many other collections worldwide.