I’m neither a great technician nor academic – and certainly not a great artist, but I’m a great imaginist. All my life I’ve wrestled with an imagination that has no defined bounds. It’s been surreal, open-ended and irreverent with the greatest difficulty not being able to articulate what my creative world, imagined or otherwise, was about. The development of photography and educating my eye to a different way of seeing, my painting and drawing, planning this, my first exhibition, the initial design and cataloguing of work for a website has been cathartic. Although still a long way to go, I’ve now started to feel purged of the deep frustration of not being able to share my creative world. As a consequence, I sense that retirement will be a calmer more productive space as I too now have a reference for what my imagination and curiosity stand for.
There is no profound meaning to that statement, simply a statement of fact and what’s stated and shared is highly subjective without an intention to satisfy anyone other than myself.
My photography is informed by referencing life’s experiences. Vivid childhood memories dovetail the work and styles of established artists. There is a desire to distance cliché, to transcend the simple descriptive image by reducing natural appearance to a radically simplified form through abstraction, ambiguity, imagination, and mystery. Abstraction itself indicates a departure from reality and as the camera has given rise to a new way of seeing – of framing the real, I challenge myself to record abstracted form from the natural or man-made environment using a device that fights this notion. I try to paint with the camera, facing the conflict between canvas and screen.
My exhibition notes give further insight to the thinking behind what’s exhibited, but it’s only part of the key. The viewer is as much a part of the process as I am. It’s frequently said that we are the sum total of all the parts of our life, but how much one lets those ‘parts’ or experiences influence how much one sees, varies considerably from person to person. Most of what I do is driven by feel, by an emotional engagment with the subject. Initially it can be at a very base entry level – a simple, pleasing geometric shape or colour – but generally this is only a starting point for something more meaningful or subconsciously relative. Curiosity also plays an integral part of my creative invention. Intellect and emotion working in tandem motivates curiosity and can realise artwork that is both relevant and personally satisfying.
Graham Cook - September 2015
GRAHAM COOK: PHOTOGRAPHY
EXHIBITION: ST JULIANS CLUB
SEVENOAKS, KENT TN15 0RX
11 SEPTEMBER – 14 OCTOBER 2015
This provisional website is primarily in support of an exhibition of my photography. It will form the basis of a website, currently in development, that will carry a more comprehensive catalogue of my artistic work together with an opportunity to buy or commission. The current site however, does give a flavour of some of the other work produced during 2015. Most of the painting and drawing has been produced from life with the photography solely representative of the exhibition. Since, at this stage, it’s not been possible to include supporting text, the following link accesses a pdf of the exhibition notes and price list, and the contacts page provides the opportunity to submit and enquiry.