News and upcoming exhibitions
New sculpture on display
Picasso Ceramics Gallery
Leicester Museums & Galleries
‘Witness II’ can now be seen on display in the Picasso Ceramics Gallery at Leicester Museum & Art Gallery. This ceramic was recently purchased for the museum’s permanent collection with grant funding. It follows on from the hugely successful exhibition ‘Parallel Lines: Eileen Cooper and Leicester’s Art Collection’ held at Leicester Museum and Art Gallery in 2022.
Purchased with assistance from the Art Fund, the ACE/V&A Purchase Grant Fund and the City of Leicester Museums Trust, 2023.
‘Picasso has been a major influence on me all my creative life. Firstly, at the age of 20, I discovered his painting, then his incredible output in both printmaking and ceramics. The use of the figure, sexuality, the autobiographical and mythological imagery, all have had a profound influence on my work. Clay and paint are closely connected and the primal qualities of both are hugely significant for me. I received an AHRB (Arts and Humanities Research Board) grant to work on the project 'Ceramics from a Fine Artist around 1999-2000 and the Witness series was part of that work. I was assisted by ceramicist Annie Turner to whom I am incredibly grateful.’
— Cooper writing in February 2023 about Picasso's influence and her work with ceramics
Women in Revolt!
Art & Activism in the UK
8 November 2023 – 7 April 2024
A major survey of feminist art over 100 women artists working in the UK – the first of its kind. It explores how networks of women used radical ideas and rebellious methods to make an invaluable contribution to British culture. Through their creative practices, women’s liberation was forged against the backdrop of extreme social, economic and political change.
Cooper says how thrilled she is to be represented in this ground breaking exhibition by this early work which is part of a series of large drawings made in 1979-80.
In 1980 her drawing Figures on Ladder was included in Women’s Images of Men, one of three major exhibitions of women’s art held at the ICA that year. Through metaphorical and allegorical paintings, Cooper’s practice explores ideas around motherhood, sexuality, love and death, often with autobiographical allusions.
Studio International, August 2023
‘I’d always avoided looking back … but it’s been fascinating’
Read full interview
As her previously unseen early works on paper exhibits at Huxley-Parlour in London, Cooper talks about the importance of drawing, the women’s movement, and the relevance of these particular intimate images to the development of her style – and about looking back as she turns 70.
Eileen Cooper: Body & Soul Sketchbook
Published by The Royal Academy of Arts
Buy the book
This new hardback sketchbook reveals Cooper’s fascination with the female body in various media, from pencil and crayon to charcoal and gouache.
New acquisition to the Katrin Bellinger Collection
Self Portrait with Coloured Pastels
View the collection
This piece has been acquired by Katrin Bellinger Collection as part of ‘a conscious decision to buy more contemporary art with a focus on female artists’.
‘I fell for this pastel drawing by Eileen as she consciously depicts herself in the mirror, a tool often disguised in self portraits. I love the pastels scattered on the table around the mirror’s foot which could also be read as lipsticks adding a feminine touch.’
Acquisition to the Tate Gallery
Woman Examining her Shadow, 1989-90
This major painting of Cooper’s has been acquired by Tate as part of their permanent collection. First exhibited in 1990, the painting was in a private collection for over a decade before eventually returning to her. Personally, it is a hugely significant work and she is delighted it is now with Tate.
Parallel Lines: Eileen Cooper
Texts by Kathleen Soriano, Linsey Young
Available to buy now
View exhibition page
Reflecting on Cooper’s artistic experiences – which, in the words of Linsey Young ‘disrupt the neat patriarchal understandings of women’ – this thoughtfully designed and elegant hard back book brings together for the first time early works illustrated alongside previously unseen works including drawings, paintings, prints, ceramics and portraits, many of which will be a surprise to readers.
Bethlem Royal Hospital, Beckenham, Bethlem Mother & Baby Unit
Family Room, Bethlem MBU (Mother and Baby Unit), for the Hospital Rooms project at South London & Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust. Bethlem MBU is a specialist perinatal mental health unit.
Photography: Damian Griffiths
Acquisition to The National Portrait Gallery
The National Portrait Gallery has acquired two of Cooper’s drawings for its permanent collection.
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© 2024 Eileen Cooper