This October Waterhouse & Dodd
is presenting 30 paintings, works on paper and sculptures by Maurice Cockrill, who passed away on the 1st December 2013. It is Waterhouse & Dodd's first involvement with the artist and their first exhibition as the estate's appointed agents. This show follows the major retrospective at Durham Art Gallery and his exhibition at the Royal Academy Summer Show this year.
Cockrill is one of the most widely known yet under-rated Post-War British artists. Waterhouse & Dodd's intention is to attempt to exhibit works from every period of his remarkable career. They are showing works from his early realist phase, his ambitious figure painting of the 1980s, the more lyrical landscape based work of the 1990s and his abstracts for which he is perhaps best known. The gallery cannot hope to be as thorough as his recent retrospective in Durham or previous surveys such as that at the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, but their exhibition provides a fine introduction to those new to Cockrill's work and some surprises to those already familiar with it.
As Jamie Anderson notes; "what I have found fascinating in pulling the exhibition together is the common thematic thread that runs through the various phases of his career. At first glance, the late abstracts show no link to his 1980s figurative works, yet throughout all of his mature career the themes of generation, renewal and the cycle of life remain constant. What we discover is a wildly inventive artist who worked with a rigour and discipline few can match. He was an artist who knew how to express an idea, but equally knew when that method of expression had become redundant and it was time to move on. I hope our exhibition and catalogue give an adequate sense of this."
In her catalogue essay on the artist, the author Margaret Drabble notes; "He was not ironic or playful or fashion-conscious. Nor, except for one darkly powerful Saturnian phase, was he a painter of tragic themes. He was entirely serious about his work, aiming always for the highest, and achieving it, often in a spirit of joyful fulfilment."