Elizabeth Cope

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Elizabeth Cope was born Co. Kildare Ireland, studied at the National College of Art & Design Dublin, Sir John Cass School of Art and Chelsea School of Art London in the 1970’s before living in Madrid and Paris. Inspired by the principles and tenets of the late 19th Century and early 20th Century artists, she is influenced particularly by the Fauvist and Post Impressionists Edgar Degas, Vincent Van Gogh, Andre Derain, Dufy and Matisse. Notable British artists Roger Hilton, Vanessa Bell, Roger Fry and Alfred Wallis are much admired by her and have impacted on her most recent work. By her own admission she is of the ‘happy school of painting’. She looks for the positive and hope in the places and situations she experiences. Always determined to travel, her subject matter is varied and drawn from her worldly journeys and experiences; from her visits to Somalia as a war artist to the beaches of Brazil, Guatemala, the Mediterranean, Cuba and Mexico. However her return to her cultural homeland in rural Ireland and studio life grounds her and motivates her to paint.
Highly regarded internationally, documenting the war in Somalia, she was Ireland’s first war artist and exhibited together with Scottish war artist Peter Howson, although her work and approach is completely different. Her paintings currently hang alongside notable artists, Francis Bacon and William Crozier as a specially selected artist in ‘The Naked Truth, the Nude in Irish Art’, Cork. She has exhibited often in London and numerous other European cities, South America, the US and Canada. This is her first major exhibition with Compass Gallery, Glasgow. Selecting work for this show has been challenging and an inspiring experience. Cope is both a draughtsman and a painter; colour, spontaneity, energy and creativity characterise her work. Confident in her craftsmanship but also self critical she vigorously edits; if the paintings don’t work for her she snips out the best and strongest bits and collages them onto a fresh base, thus creating intriguing jigsaws of images. The sheer scale of some of her most ambitious and challenging paintings, nailed onto the walls of an open barn, amongst the hay bales, makes us long for a larger space to fully represent the breadth and scale of her work. However, restricted to our walls in Compass we have selected but a sprinkling of her lively seascapes, still lifes, portraits, nudes and a series of beautifully drawn etchings based on zoo animals. Colour and energy abounds and we think you will find this exhibition energising and uplifting.
International solo shows include: University of Toronto, Canada, Bologna, Ontario, Dublin, London, New York, Sao Paulo and Switzerland. Acquisitions by public and corporate collections include the Contemporary Irish Art Society, Dublin City University, National Self-Portrait Collection, University of Limerick, Allied Investment Bank and Bank of Ireland. Recent selected group shows include the Royal Academy of Arts, Yorkshire (2017), RHA Annual Exhibition in Dublin (2016) and the RA Summer Show, London (2016).