26 Sep - 25 Oct, 2014
No Show Space is pleased to present the first London solo exhibition by Liadin Cooke, comprised of an installation of new works.
The exhibition is titled Nostos, Greek for 'homecoming'. Cooke was born in Ireland in 1958 and lived there until 1993, when she moved to London and, later, West Yorkshire. Her work is infused with a sense of place and the modernist ideology of combining art and life. In Nostos her attention is focused specifically on Irish vernacular furniture and forms that fulfil basic human needs, such as a surface to eat at or a place to sleep. Much of this furniture is multipurpose, with doors used as tables or seats as beds. These forms are rooted in the Irish folk tradition and yet the pared down quality and simplicity of living is more reminiscent of minimalist furniture and objects.
Firmamental Product could be described as a table, albeit one that hangs on a wall. It is made from English walnut, a rich golden wood with intricate growth marks. There is a single knobbly stump for a leg that acts to push it awkwardly away from the wall on one side. It hangs from a 13 metre hand-woven belt - called a 'crios' - looped over a peg in the wall. A crios is a traditional belt from the Aran Islands, off the west coast of Ireland.
Ignorant Brown mimics the shadow of an opened settle bed. A settle bed is a seat that opens out and turns into a box-like bed. The work is made from plywood - a pragmatic material in the context of a bed. Rendered in 2D, it is hung on the wall. The painted black surface has molten tin poured onto its centre.
Husbandmen is a collection of six spade heads cut from the same walnut as Firmamental Product. Traditionally, regions in Ireland had their own shovels and spades made for particular tasks. The six spade heads presented are replicas of some of the forms used by a small factory that closed in the 1950s.
Untitled is a series of watercolour and gouache collages which refer to the books that Cooke sees as a central part of life. These works on paper try to pin down the intangible quality of language and the intense internal place that is uniquely part of reading a text.
In one way Cooke's work is very private with an emotional significance that is part of how she looks at particular places - in Nostos she has created an interior space. At the same time the homecoming of the title brings with it the wider world of having been away. It is here that she reconciles nostalgia with a modernist view of the future; traditional folk ways with minimalism and the personal with her practice as an artist.
Liadin Cooke was in conversation with Stephen Feeke, Director of the New Art Centre, Salisbury on Thursday 9 October at 7:00 pm at No Show Space.
Liadin Cooke was born in 1958 in Ireland. She studied sculpture at the National College of Art and Design in Dublin in the mid-1980s. In 1993 Cooke moved to London to do a Masters at Goldsmiths College London and in 2000 moved to West Yorkshire. Cooke has exhibited widely in the UK, Ireland and internationally. Her recent exhibitions include: & Model, Leeds (2014); and the Northern Art Prize (2012), Leeds. Her solo shows include: exhibitions at New Arts Centre, Roche Court (2010); Huddersfield Art Gallery (2010); Yorkshire Sculpture Park (2006); Henry Moore Institute, Leeds (2003); and PS1, New York. She currently lives and works in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire.
A publication accompanies the exhibition with an interview between Cooke and Natalie Rudd.