Eileen Cooper: Hide and Seek at the Royal Academy of Arts
Hide and Seek by Eileen Cooper presents a large collection of her original drawings, displayed in the John Madejski Fine Rooms of the Royal Academy. Created from mixed media, these crude, bold and direct figurative drawings are selected from Cooper’s works, which span almost 40 years and explore themes of identity, family and sexuality.
The title Hide and Seek aims to encapsulate a youthful, childlike aspect, as well as deeper thoughts of hiding one’s identity while in pursuit of another journey. Cooper’s style is honest and spontaneous, and straight from her imagination – she states that she works by “instinct not intellect”. A form of narrative is evident in each image; there’s a strong resemblance to the abstract style of Picasso, whereby the large eyes of the figures give away their emotions.
As the viewer enters the initial room, ten drawings that are equal in shape and size – orderly and evenly distributed – are immediately observed. With short giveaway titles such as Jump, Kick and Dance, the drawings portray actions and movements emphasised by the expressive sense of motion in the graphic lines. These pieces are created by an exploration of mark-making with ink, pastel, charcoal and Conté crayons on Japanese paper. They are Cooper’s gift to the Royal Academy of Arts, which extend to and inform the rest of the Hide and Seek collection.
A focus on motherhood and family life is apparent in the second room of the exhibition. Cooper captures connection and intimacy in these images, cramming the figures in closely and filling every space on the paper. The final and grandest room of the collection is host to more drawings depicting identity as well as sexuality. There is a lot for the viewer to take in, with some large-scale works such as Tree House II exhibited amid the variety on display.
An addition to Cooper’s drawings is a stop-motion film by Charlie Paul, screened just before entering the John Madejski Fine Rooms. This short film divulges the stages of Cooper’s Archer composition, so the viewer is able to further understand the artist’s creative process. Altogether, this collection from an established contemporary artist and printmaker with a huge breadth of works tells many stories, creating an intriguing exhibition.
Eileen Cooper: Hide and Seek is at the Royal Academy of Arts from 29th May until 23rd August 2015, for further information visit here.