Sophisticated art

THE intimate surroundings of the Bank Street Gallery in Kirriemuir are currently dislaying a collection of works by the renowned Eileen Cooper, RA.

Eileen Cooper’s art is sophisticated, polished, assured - and technically brilliant.

Yet it retains a subliminal quirkiness that speaks of something beyond – something mysterious, ambivalent.

Melancholy and resignation can be detected behind her tableux. The overwhelming effect is irresistibly engaging - Eileen Cooper paints for you!

Cooper needs no introduction but for those who haven’t found her yet, the fact that she has recently been appointed as the first ever female Keeper of the Royal Academy speaks volumes.

In his poem “If”, Kipling counselled that to win the Earth we should, amongst other things, walk with kings, but keep the common touch.

This has been the mark of Cooper’s career throughout – and thereby, also the mark of the woman. Both interesting and interested, she finds intrigue in everything around her – people and places.

Eileen Cooper is encouraging, regardless of rank or repertoire. She will easily rise to the Keeper’s primary role - responsibility for the Academy’s schools.

Beneath the warmth, however, there is resolve.

Eileen furrows her path with focus and navigates through controversy without rancour – but with little leeway. Her momentum is always towards progress and desired goals.

These qualities are found in her work.

The stylisation of her figures reveals serenity, contentment with individuality and yet always in touch with commonality.

Her images welcome the viewer. We feel that we may know her characters and, worryingly, that they might know us!

Eileen Cooper’s show runs until Friday, April 27.

The Gallery is open 10am to 4pm Wednesday to Saturday and 1pm to 4pm Sunday.