These paintings produced in 2020/21 by Chris Cook during the lockdown are reactions and attempts to override the negative effects of the pandemic. She hoped to express a more positive mood by using lots of colour, shape and movement.
Maurice Vlaminck and other Fauves, such as André Derain, influence her work because of their use of colour. Other artists who have been an inspiration, especially in the use of colour, are Sonia Delaunay, Vincent Van Gogh, Vasily Kandinsky, Howard Hodgkin and David Hockney. She uses complementary and discordant colours for dramatic effect. In psychology colour is seen as the language of emotion, which her work is about. The work shown is mostly developed from ‘doodles’ which come from the subconscious.
The outlines around the shapes derive from her love of the bare branches of the trees in winter giving a stained-glass window effect. Her love of nature is evident in small hints of it emerging in these paintings. The last touches are the dots which are a way of breaking up the surface and adding more colour contrasts.
Chris studied at Bradford Art College and The Institute of Education, London University. In the mid 1960’s she taught at Stafford college, and then in the East end of London. From the 1970’s she taught art in Brent schools, including Queens Park Community School and lastly at John Kelly (Crest Academy). Since retiring in the early 2000’s she painted regularly but because of the recent situation her work has become more prolific, colourful and joyful and colour seems to have exploded into her life! Often, she paints with a background of Jazz or Reggae playing.
Chris wanted to have this her first exhibition to celebrate her 80th birthday.