10 September 2012

Good Art #3. Bridge Party.

The characters in Beryl Cook's paintings celebrate daily life. Her sharply observed and highly amusing paintings represent scenes from her day-to-day life experiences in England, and to a lesser degree her travels abroad. Dance clubs and pubs, hen nights, gay bars, street life and restaurants are the focus, many visited with her fun-loving husband, are all endearingly portrayed. Influenced by the work of Stanley Spencer and Edward Burra, Beryl taught herself how to paint using oil and bits of board. With over 500 paintings made over a forty year career, I found it hard to choose one to show here. I've gone with Bridge Party from 1997, perhaps because it reminds me of the smoke-filled dining room my parents hosted poker parties in throughout the 1970s. Beryl's work hasn't been shown widely, though cutting edge Baltic in Newcastle showed her work in 2007. If you want to see Beryl's wry sense of humour at play, then Beryl Cook Prints is a good place to start.

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