Eileen Cooper OBE RA (b. 1953) was born in Glossop, in the Derbyshire Peak District. She studied at Goldsmiths College from 1971—1974 under Bert Irvin RA, Basil Beattie RA and Michael Craig Martin RA. She went on to study Painting at the Royal College of Art under Peter de Francia, graduating in 1977 and soon began to exhibit her work.
Eileen Cooper's first solo exhibiti...on was held in 1979 at the Air Gallery, with subsequent shows throughout the UK, including Blond Fine Art, London, Artspace Gallery, Aberdeen, Castlefield Gallery, Manchester and Artsite Gallery. During the 1980s she became a major figure, well-known and regarded for her strong and passionate figuration.
Celebrated for her work as a printmaker and painter, her stylised images are rooted in a figurative tradition and characterised by the use of bold linearity and formal composition. The playful, relaxed atmosphere of the images is constructed by the use of undulating markings and a confident use of colour whilst Eileen’s distinctive imagery brings a refreshing female perspective to her subject matter. Sometimes described as a magic realist, her vision is allegorical and storytelling a foremost theme.
Her images are imbued with playful narratives and her protagonists are often surrounded by artefacts and imagery that testifies to the tension between quotidian and romantic concerns.The narratives are simultaneously semi-autobiographical and universal as they speak of the spiritual, emotional or creative challenges or questions we all experience. Liberation from the mundane is achieved by nudity of characters and abandoned objects and animals within the images provide allegorical icons of life traits such as imagination, innocence or reliability.
With an illustrious career as an artist, she became a Royal Academician in 2001 and was the first woman ever to be elected as Keeper of the Royal Academy of the Arts in London (2010-17) and to have held this post since the Academy’s foundation in 1768. She curated and coordinated the Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy in 2017. Selected Public Collections include The Arts Council UK, The Royal Collection, The Royal Academy of Arts, The Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
Still working today, Eileen is a prolific painter, draughtswoman and printmaker.