Anna McNay

Interview with Eileen Cooper RA


Interview: Eileen Cooper RA

Hide and Seek: Drawings by Eileen Cooper RA 

John Madejski Fine Rooms, Royal Academy of Arts

29 May – 23 August 2015

Eileen Cooper (b1953) is a powerful
presence at the Royal Academy this summer. An Academician since 2000, she was
elected the first female Keeper in 2010. She has six works – in various media –
in the annual Summer
Exhibition and a retrospective
of her drawings running simultaneously in the John Madejski Fine Rooms. A
full-colour monograph of her life and works has also just been published.

Born in Glossop, Derbyshire, Cooper drew
from an early age. At 17, she undertook a foundation course in art at the
nearby Ashton-under-Lyne College of Further Education and, from there, she progressed
to Goldsmiths and later to the Royal College of Art. At a time when conceptual
art and performance were de rigueur, Cooper remained true to figuration, soon
discovering that drawing from her imagination, instead of from life, gave her a
freedom to express and explore ideas and themes that became important to her. Her
often large-scale, brightly coloured, primal and primitive compositions
followed Cooper on her journey through womanhood and motherhood, with their
motifs and content invariably overshadowing discussion of their formal

To read this interview, please go to: