Artist’s work goes on show

Maurice Cockrill
Maurice Cockrill

A NEW exhibition will offer a retrospective of an influential Hartlepool-born artist who died last month.

Noted artist Maurice Cockrill – described as a “painter’s painter” – passed away aged 78 on December 1.

His work will be on display at the DLI Museum and Durham Art Gallery from Saturday, 18 January until Sunday, March 30.

The opening of the exhibition, at 2pm on January 18, will be marked by a memorial lecture on Maurice, given by artist Arturo di Stefano.

Maurice was a leading figure of British art throughout the latter part of the 20th century, his work spanning a variety of artistic forms.

His work was shown regularly in Dusseldorf, Frankfurt and Paris and he also exhibited in Belgium, the Netherlands and Australia.

He also played a key role in art education, holding the illustrious position of Keeper of the Royal Academy Schools until 2011.

His obituary appeared in The Guardian, which said: “In Britain, he did not receive the attention accorded to some artists of his generation, since he was not associated with pop art and he never sought the limelight.

“But his reputation is that of a ‘painter’s painter’, admired for his technique, inventiveness and conviction.”

Maurice was born in Hartlepool in 1935 though his father’s work as a construction engineer took the family to South Wales and then to the Midlands, before they moved to North Wales in 1942.

The forthcoming exhibition, curated by Conor Mullan, has been mounted in collaboration with the Royal Academy to celebrate the upcoming publication by the academy of a major monograph covering Maurice’s life and career.

The exhibition will explore the book’s themes and spans Cockrill’s evolution from early photorealism to expressionism and abstraction.

Drawing together works from public and private collections, it offers a unique opportunity to see some of Maurice’s finest works.

Speaking in October last year, Maurice said: “I am proud to be launching the book and exhibition in the county of my birth, among my ancestors.”

Lucy Jenkins, DLI Museum and Durham Art Gallery exhibitions coordinator, said: “Maurice Cockrill had an international reputation and was an extremely influential figure in British art and education.

“We are very proud to be celebrating his life and work with this fascinating retrospective.”

For more information on the exhibition, call 03000 266590, email dli@durham.gov.uk or visit www.dlidurham.org.uk.