Elizabeth Cope

Elizabeth Cope is both a draughtswoman 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 ambition in her work can be represented by the sheer scale of some of her paintings, nailed onto the walls of open barns, amongst the hay bales.

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 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.

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.

Elizabeth Cope was born in Co. Kildare Ireland and studied at the National College of Art & Design Dublin, Sir John Cass School of Art and then Chelsea School of Art London in the 1970s before living in Madrid and Paris.

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 Christmas Show 2020, Compass Gallery, Glasgow; the Royal Academy of Arts, Yorkshire (2017); RHA Annual Exhibition in Dublin (2016); and the RA Summer Show, London (2016).