Contextual LEVEL6

Barrie Cooke

Megaceros Hibernicus1983

“Cooke’s art often deals with issues of nature and culture, particularly with the formation and transformation of the environment over time. The skeleton of Megaceros Hibernicus, the largest deer of the species which flourished at the end of the last ice age, was recovered from the bog-lands of Ireland. For Cooke the elk represented a powerful symbol of pre-civilised consciousness. In Cooke’s painting the elk emerges from the gloomy bog-land with its enormous antlers treated like massive antennae transmitting, as it were, a message from the past. Yielded up by the bog, the elk demonstrates the process of perpetual interchange that occurs in the cycles of nature.”

This work by Cooke, while it deals with similar themes of nature and changes in enviroment, as well as contains similar animal and decay imagey, is much darker than my own current work. This work comes across quite grusome, the backgroud is very dark, there appears to be blood on the animal and its standing up like it has somehow come back to life and continued to move.

on the other hand, my work is much lighter, with smaller areas of darkness for contrast. It feelsquiet but not sad, the death balances or even overshaddowed by the colours used and plant growth.

we both deal in animals and decay, these elk are extinct, the animals in my work are usually dead. combining the live plants and snimal bones in my work also hints towards the exchange of life in nature and the cyles of life and decat which occurs.

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