Celia Cook graduated from the Royal College of Art, London, with an MA in Painting in 1989 following a BA Hons (First Class) in Fine Art from Ravensbourne in 1986.  She was Visiting Fellow in Painting, Winchester School of Art (University of Southampton) 1989-90 and winner of the prestigious 2020 Pollock-Krasner Foundation award.  She lives and works in Bath, UK.


Her work is instantly recognisable. Billowing, geometric forms oscillate between illusionary space and the surface of the canvas with captivating order and authority; a play of colour, line, light and shade. Beginning with no preconceived idea of what the finished piece will look like, Cook finds form through a system of responsive experiments, “trying to create order from nothing”.  By honing in on the fundamental elements of volume, mass, and movement, Cook seeks to create dynamic relationships in continual flux, where each form engages with another as well as the canvas edge, creating what she describes as a kind of “visual gymnastics”.


These themes have been further explored in unique woodcuts created using veneered plywood shapes (made from original line drawing blueprints) that are inked up individually and layered wet on wet to encourage serendipitous colour blending.     Responding visually, informed by the internal logic of the unfolding image, she re-orders the blocks meticulously, layering form in a process that requires the paper to pass through the press many times - it is a high-pressured practice that creates an energy in the work.


Without planning the composition but by trusting the connection between hand and eye, Cook has developed a way to improvise rhythms syncopated by colour. Each series is a collection of unique images created from a single matrix of blocks, all different but evolved from the same starting point. Recent series have been riffing on musical terms like ‘ostinato’ and ‘vamping’, both allude to types of rhythm and repeated phrases with potential for extemporisation.