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"Nigel Cooke: A Portrait of Everything"
2006-03-30 until 2006-05-14
South London Gallery
UK United Kingdom
Chain-smoking plants and sobbing vegetables are among the objects that British artist Nigel Cooke sets against unsettling landscapes in new paintings in his solo exhibition, "A Portrait of Everything", at the South London Gallery from 30 March 2006.
Cooke‚s work combines painting conventions of the past with the illustrative styles of street art and children‚s books to create obsessively detailed fictional scenes.
A underlying theme in `A Portrait of Everything‚ is the tendency of the human imagination to provide objects with personalities. Inspired by the way in which inanimate objects to come to life in children‚s stories, Cooke's paintings are lent a darker edge by birds, flowers, brains and sunsets depicted as drinkers and smokers. Not only have the objects outgrown the world of fairytales, but they inhabit a bleak adult world of addiction, overwork and sorrow.
rying a lemon-headed man, seemingly trapped in the pointless toil of interring a buffoon. With their ponderous outfits they could potentially be time travellers from a Breughel painting.
And in Food, the vast number of possible associations with the word "food" is reduced to the image of a gigantic bone dumped on the horizon. There seems to be a knuckle joint at one end of the bone which on closer inspection is revealed to be a hooded human face smoking a cigarette.
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