Chain-smoking plants and sobbing vegetables are among the objects that British artist Nigel Cooke places against unsettling landscapes in new paintings in his solo exhibition from 30 March. Cooke's work combines painting conventions of the past with the illustrative styles of street art and children's books to create obsessively detailed fictional scenes.
The underlying theme in 'Portrait of Everything' is the tendency of the human imagination to provide objects with personalities. Inspired by the way in which inanimate objects come to life in children's stories. Cooke's paintings lend a darker edge by birds, flowers, brains and sunsets depicted as smokers and drinkers.
Nigel Cooke's work is held in the collections of the Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles, Museum of Modern Art New York, Guggenheim Museum New York, Tate Modern.
Nigel Cooke: A Portrait of Everything - South London Art Gallery 30 March - 7 May.
The Ionian Singers, with Timothy Salter as conductor and organist, will give a concert in aid of Save the Children in St Stephen's Church, College Road on Saturday 11th March. The programme will include music by Brahms (How lovely are thy Dwellings from the Requiem) , motets by Bruckner, Verdi's highly-charged Pater Noster, two movements from Rossini's popular Messe Solonnelle, works by Stanford, and Mendelssohn's Hear my Prayer. The solo roles in the Rossini and Mendelssohn will be sung by the young American soprano, Emily Atkinson.
The Ionian Singers originated in Dulwich, the choir being formed by Graham Stewart in 1958, partly stimulated by a request for a choral group to be one of the evening classes at the newly built William Penn Comprehensive School. The nucleus of the group was largely from past and present members of the St. Stephen's Church choir, which had flourished in the early post-war years during the times of the Rev. Lionel Hart and, to a lesser extent Harold Little. In addition to their weekly duties the Church Choir gave monthly recitals after Evening Service, and other performances. There is even a vinyl recording on a Decca label of Webster Booth with the Choir providing the backing - light music outside their normal repertoire!
In 1972, when Graham Stewart's many activities became too much of a burden, he asked Timothy Salter, the then accompanist of The Ionian Singers, to take over as conductor. Since then the Choir, with a membership of about thirty-five singers, has performed regularly in London, the UK and abroad, and made commercial recordings of music from the Renaissance to the present day.
The Concert of 11 March has been organised in association with the Dulwich Branch of Save the Children. The Branch was started twenty years ago and has organised a impressive number of fund-raising events, ranging from carol concerts, craft fairs and plants sales to lunches, sponsored readings and garden openings.