biography

JULIAN COOPER was born in 1947 in Grasmere, Cumbria. His father William Heaton Cooper (1903-1995) was a successful painter of the Lake District, as was his grandfather, Alfred Heaton Cooper (1863-1929), and his mother was the sculptor Ophelia Gordon Bell (1915-1975).  His life has inevitably intersected with the wider currents of mountaineering and mountain painting.

He studied Fine Art at Goldsmith’s College School of Art in the late 1960’s where the major influences were post-painterly abstraction and colour field painting. He however became interested in the work of the Abstract Expressionists, and sought to negotiate a way through the representation-abstraction dichotomy; to combine the surface-image relationship he found in the work of Clifford Still and Mark Rothko but which might retain the vitality of a representational image.
In a career spanning three decades, his work has ranged from narrative paintings based on Malcom Lowry’s novel “Under the Volcano” to a series of paintings about the assassination of the Brazilian union leader and environmentalist Chico Mendes in Amazonia, in 1989.

Julian by William Heaton Cooper

His more recent work has been concerned with finding a relevant contemporary language for painting mountains and rock. In 2001 his “Mind has Mountains” exhibition at the Wordsworth Trust and in London showed paintings made after an expedition to the Kanchenjunga region of Nepal, noticable was an absence of sky and a concentration on selected areas of terrain.  Whilst on-site paintings captured a superficial likeness, these paintings touched a deeper psychological one.

His solo exhibition  “Cliffs of Fall”  in 2004 at Art Space Gallery, London,  showed work based on a comparative study of the North Face of the Eiger in Switzerland and the Honister Slate Mine in the English Lake District.

A major retrospective of work from both the previous exhibitions took place at the Museo Nazionale Della Montagna in Turin in 2005.

In 2007 his solo exhibition “Earthly Powers”, at Art Space Gallery, London and subsequently Tullie House Museum, Carlisle, showed work based on a trip to the sacred mountain Mt Kailash in the far West of Tibet, alongside paintings of abandoned Cumbrian quarries.

In 2008 he showed a series of paintings “Motherlode” at Brantwood, Coniston & “Breaking Ground” at Art Space Gallery, London, based on and inside the marble quarries of Carrara, Italy.

He is currently working on a series of paintings based on the copper mines of Queenstown, Tasmania, the result of a two month residency at Landscape Art Research Queenstown in 2011.

 

PUBLIC & CORPORATE COLLECTIONS

Aber Diamond Corporation. Toronto; Arts Council of Great Britain; Abbot Hall Art Gallery; Allerdale District Council; Baker & McKenzie, London; Bankers Trust; Bolton Art Gallery; Brathay Hall Trust; Cumbria County Council; Davy Offshore Modules; Durham County Council; Durham University; Ferguson Industrial Holdings; Home Office; Inner London Education Authority; Kendal Magistrates Court; Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle upon Tyne; Lancaster University; Messner Museum, Bolzano. Italy; Museo della Montagna, Turin, Italy; Mountain Heritage Trust; Northern Arts; Pentagram; Reuters; Theatre on the Lake, Keswick; Tullie House Art Gallery, Carlisle; Unilever; University College, London.

 

JULIAN COOPER

1947

Born in Grasmere, Cumbria

1964-65

Lancaster Art School

1965-68

Goldsmith’s College School of Art, London, Dip.AD. Fine Art

1968-69

Post Graduate Painting at Goldsmith’s College School of Art, London

 

 

AWARDS

2011 

Resident at Landscape Art Research, Queenstown, Tasmania

1982 

Awarded the Northern Arts Bursary

1981 

Resident at the Virginia Centre for Creative Arts, U.S.A.

1976 

Resident at the Karolyi Foundation, France

1970

Elected Member of the London Group

1969 

Awarded Boise Travelling Scholarship. Travelled in Europe and resided British School at Rome


SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY

2017 Ed Douglas The Magician's Glass: Character and Fate: Eight Essays on Climbing & Mountain Life published by Vertebrate
  Andrew Lambirth & Amy Concannon Abbot Hall catalogue essay, Julian Cooper paintings from 1970 to 2017
2016 BBC Radio Four The Matter of the North (2nd September)
Rory Stewart The Marches published by Jonathan Cape
2015 Simon Ingram Between the Sunset and the Sea published by Collins
2014

Melvyn Bragg, catalogue essay Natural Forces

  John Spurling,  Julian Cooper, Natural Forces  The Spectator 29th March
  One to One  Howard Hull talks to Julian Cooper about the evolution of a single work
2012 Andrew Lambirth, catalogue essay,  A Fractured Landscape

2010

Eric Scigliano, catalogue essay, Breaking Ground

 

Huon Mallalieu, Country Life

2009

Melvyn Bragg, Howard Hull, Grevel Lindop, catalogue essay, Motherlode

2008

Julian Cooper, Kailas, A Painting Khora,  Alpine Journal

2007  

Conversation with Hamish Fulton, Earthly Powers  catalogue

 

Peter Mallalieu, The Artists of The Alpine Club

 

Keith Richardson, The Sacred Mountain, CA1 Culture and Arts

 

Andrew Lambirth, Spectator

2005

Ben Tufnell, catalogue essay, Pareti, Ghiacci, Precipizi

 

Melvyn Bragg, The Romantic North, Sunday Times Magazine

 

David Dimbleby, A Picture of Britain, Tate Publication

2004

Conversation with Basil Beattie, Cliffs of Fall catalogue

 

Phil Bartlett, Observer,

 

John Spurling, Spectator, 27 November

 

Felicity Owen,  Galleries, November

 

Julian CooperPainting the Eiger,  Alpine Journal

2003

Grevel Lindop, PN Review

2002

Inger Marie von der Lippe, “Cooper x 5” Catalogue

2002

Stephen Goodwin,The Alpine Journal

2002

David Craig, London Review of Books

2001

Andrew Lambirth, The Spectator

2001

Andrew Lambirth, catalogue essay, Mind has Mountains

2001

Julian Cooper, catalogue essay, Mind has Mountains

2001

Andrew Lambirth, RA Magazine

1999

Stephen Goodwin, The Independent

1998

The Spark,  Border TV

 

Melvyn Bragg, The Times

1998

Terry Gifford, High Magazine

1997

Stephen Goodwin, The Independent

1994

May, “The Page”

1991

24th June, “Celebration” Granada Television

1990

18th March, John Spurling, Sunday Times Review

1987

26th April, Sunday Telegraph Colour Magazine

1984

18th August, John Spurling, New Statesman

1984

29th July, Nigel Politt, City Limits

1984

29th July, Sarah Kent, Time Out

1984

Spring, Iain Biggs, Aspects

1984

28th June, Melvyn Bragg, Sunday Times Colour Magazine

1984

November   Iain Biggs, Artscribe

1983

30th July, Jacynth Ellerton, The Tablet

1983

27th July, Melvyn Bragg, Punch

1983

July, Critics Forum. BBC Radio Three

1982

16th August, William Varley, The Guardian

1978

Dec, Marina Vaizey, The Sunday Times

1975

10th Jan. Max Wykes-Joyce, Arts Review

1975

2nd Jan. Max Wykes-Joyce, International Herald Tribune

1974

July, Peter Fuller, Studio International

1974

July   Mervyn Levy, “Kaleidoscope”, BBC Radio Four

1970

5th April, Norbert Lynton, The Observer

1969

29th Oct. Harold Fenton, Daily Telegraph




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