Tuesday 18 March 2014

In Memoriam: Barrie Cooke (1931 – 2014)

Born in Cheshire in the UK in 1931, artist Barrie Cooke's love for nature and fishing brought him to County Clare in the early 1950s, where he became inspired by the Sheela-na-gig at Killinaboy Church, not far from where he lived. The Sheela-na-gig became an important theme in his early works and was the subject of a recent thesis by Sonya Ocampo-Gooding. Cooke’s early art was nurtured by the Burren’s barrenness and richness, and he later developed a close connection to writers such as Seamus Heaney and Ted Hughes. Cooke honoured his neighbours’ friendship in his work “Map of Kilnaboy in 1954” (1984) and is remembered by P.J. Curtis as "a good friend, a great artist and a gentleman". The photo above shows Sonya Ocampo-Gooding, Barrie Cooke and Seamus Heaney at the opening of the 2011 exhibit at the Irish Museum of Modern Art celebrating Cooke’s 80th birthday. The paintings in the background were inspired by the Killinaboy Sheela-na-gig. Photo courtesy of Sonya Ocampo-Gooding.

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