The North House Gallery has been closed for three months for stock taking and taking stock. It will re-open with a much needed riot of colour in the form of work by Beth Cooke, a witty and with-it pinter in her late eighties. David Stephenson has known Beth as an art patron as well as an artist for many years and has kindly written this introduction to her exhibition:
BETH COOKE When I helped Beth in 1995 with her Enchanted Journey show at the (now, sadly departed) Atrium art bookshop in Cork Street, London, I was impressed by her artistic pedigree and determined character. Born in 1920, Beth’s work was first shown at the Redfern Gallery in 1951, when she was under the tutelage of the Viennese painter Gerhart Frankl (1901-1965) - whose 1970 retrospective at the Hayward Gallery was graced with a catalogue written by Professor E.H. Gombrich.
Frankl was a real individualist (individualism is probably the only ‘ism’ that Beth would readily subscribe to), who had a profound influence on Beth’s work - ‘I learnt everything from Gerhart. He was like a catalyst; he could pinpoint the exact strengths of works of art and talk about them so convincingly. It was magical; he made you look. Still today when I’m working, I feel as if he’s breathing down my neck.’ It seems only fitting that this wide-ranging survey show will be accompanied by Frankl’s portrait of Beth.
Along with Frankl (and his heroes Titian and Cezanne), it is the spirit of the German Expressionists, particularly Emil Nolde, that inhabits Beth’s paintings. Her colour is vibrant and rich, often almost explosive - especially when she portrays trees and flowers. The work is imbued with her long experience of and loving dedication to horticulture and the countryside; her husband was the esteemed agricultural scientist George William Cooke (1916-1992).
What is so wonderful about Beth Cooke’s art (and indeed, her life) is that it is neither fantasy-land nor realistic-land, but an imaginative, poetic and nurturing homeland. You must come and visit this exhibition. David G.A. Stephenson
Open on Saturdays, 10 am - 5 pm or by appointment.
These images are a selection of the works available at the Gallery Please contact the gallery for further information