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Kerlin Gallery announces the death of Irish abstract expressionist painter Barrie Cooke
Barrie Cooke, Megacerous Hibernicus 1983, oil on canvas, 168 x 183 cm / 66.1 x 72 in. Image courtesy the artist and Kerlin Gallery, Dublin.

DUBLIN.- It is with a profound sense of sadness and loss that Kerlin Gallery reports the death of Barrie Cooke. Born in Cheshire, England, 1931 Barrie passed away on Tuesday, March 4, 2014, Leighlinbridge, County Carlow, Ireland.

Cooke moved to the US as a teenager and studied Art History at Harvard University. In 1954, he moved to Ireland and had his first solo exhibition in Dublin the following year. He received a scholarship to study with Oskar Kokoschka in Salzburg in 1955 and represented Ireland at the Paris Biennale in 1963. Though Cooke had been based in Ireland ever since, he was widely travelled and his richly expressionist, semi-abstract paintings have been strongly influenced by time spent in such far-flung places as Lapland, New Zealand, Borneo and Malaya.

Nature in its infinite variety and irresistible flux was Cooke’s chosen environment and subject matter. His paintings offer us profoundly immediate and visceral accounts of such an environment, both of its vitality and decay. In the words of Chief Arts Critic of the Irish Times, Aidan Dunne, “It’s hard to see [his paintings] without receiving an intimation of what it is to be intensely alive.” Over several decades, Cooke collaborated with a number of prominent poets including Seamus Heaney, as well as the British Poet Laureate Ted Hughes. Nobel laureate Heaney referred to his 'aqueous vision' and shared his fascination with the elemental.

Barrie Cooke has exhibited widely throughout Europe, the US and New Zealand. Major retrospectives include the Royal Hibernian Academy Gallery, Dublin in 2003, LAC, Perpignan, France in 1995, the Haags Gemeentemuseum in 1992 and the Douglas Hyde Gallery in 1986. Recent exhibitions include the Irish Musuem of Modern Art, Dublin, Crawford Art Gallery, Cork (2011), the Butler Gallery, Kilkenny; (2009) and Model Arts and Niland Gallery, Sligo (2002). His work is represented in the collections of the Irish Museum of Modern Art, the Ulster Museum, the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, the Haags Gemeentemuseum, The Hague, Holland and in many other public and private collections worldwide. Barrie Cooke was a member of Aosdana.

The gallery wishes to take this opportunity to extend our sincere sympathy to Barrie's family and loved ones.

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