In memoriam Maurice Cockrill (1935-2013)

Maurice Cockrill RA, died on 1 December 2013, aged 78. In his obituary in The Guardian (5 December 2013), Nicholas Alfrey (Associate Professor, Art History, curator of the Arts Council exhibition Uncommon Ground) describes Cockrill as

an artist of exceptional range and ambition… a “painter’s painter”, admired for his technique, inventiveness and conviction.

Alfrey outlines Cockrill’s journey from working on building sites and in factories to studying Fine Art at Reading University from 1961 to 1964, before moving to Liverpool to teach at an arts college; Cockrill remained in Liverpool until the early 1980s when he moved to London and established himself as an artist predominantly concerned with landscapes. His work, which was always evolving, underwent a particularly organic change in the 1990s, characterised by Alfrey as

… concerned with natural imagery, and with ideas of growth and decay. The landscapes he now produced were informed by memories of north Wales, but also have marked elements of dream and fantasy. He began to develop series of paintings on the themes of the four seasons, wheat, germination and generation, with increasingly abstract imagery emblazoned on fields of saturated colour.

Retrospectives of Cockrill’s work at the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool (1995), and one at the Royal West of England Academy in Bristol (1998) followed, with Cockrill elected to the Royal Academy in 1999. There, Cockrill was elected keeper of the Royal Academy Schools, emphasising the centrality of teaching in his work. The second major strand to his work, his longstanding and ongoing association with Wales, found an expression in his election as President of the Royal Cambrian Academy in 2004.

Read the full obituary in The Guardian here.

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