Beryl Cook's Characters Gain a Third Dimension

Jun 22, 2009

Beryl Cook's Characters Gain a Third Dimension

Epsom’s Ebbisham Centre was transformed as 3D models of figures from Beryl Cook paintings went on display earlier this year.

The free exhibition brought to Epsom some of the larger than life characters populating the work of the Plymouth landlady and self taught artist who died last year.

Beryl Cook was born in Epsom but became a much-loved figure in the town of Plymouth where she delighted in the sights and sounds of the lively seaside and bustling port.

Nescot Art students, who created the works on display, spoke of their excitement over their first experience of publicly exhibiting their work. Daryl Richards, 18, who went to Holyfield VI Form before coming to Nescot College, said he hoped people would like the sculptures, ‘I really hope lots of people will enjoy the exhibition, we put so much work into researching and creating the figures. It’s going to be strange to hear people commenting on them as they pass though.’

The work of Beryl Cook is enjoying something of a renaissance in critical circles since her death in May last year. Fans had long resented the refusal of major galleries and museums to invest in her paintings for the nation, but with a major introspection being mounted at the Plymouth Art Gallery where she lived and renewed interest in her unique take on modern life, Beryl Cook has created a genre as immediately recognisable as Lowry's matchstick people or Donald McGilI's saucy postcard characters.

Although Beryl Cook's fat and frolicsome people follow no party line and preach no philosophy, other than that their creator has found her own pathway to a happy and fulfilled life. 'There is no reason for me painting, I have nothing I want to say, I just love painting and I don't want to be denied the chance of doing it,' she said.

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