Large and small scale sculpture and carvings in marble, stone and bronze. Michael Cooper’s pieces are a study in a wide variety of animal, bird and the human figure. Born in Dublin, Michael studied at a Heatherly’s School of Art and then under Anthony Gray. Working with different mediums including marble, stone and bronze, it is the the nature of the material that lends itself to Cooper’s flowing harmonies of surface, and it is this that depicts the beauty of the natural world. His pieces are irresistibly tactile and the viewer is drawn to touch as much as view his pieces.
“I experienced at times a feeling that something had been achieved which was correct and harmonious, almost in spite of myself. It was like a dimension that I could only glimpse. These moments were most apparent when I was working on sculpture. There would be times when some other faculty seemed to be working, allowing me to see other aspects of the work and achieve a result often quite different to what I had planned. As I carved a block of stone, it became possible to harmonise with the material and work in partnership with it rather than in conflict. The physical effort of carving and the concentration required produce a very precise focus, suspending the usual thought process and allowing another part of me to function.”
Michael has exhibited since 1974, in a wide variety of venues including London and Jersey Zoos, the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, the Royal Academy of Arts, Gloucester Cathedral Crucible exhibitions and Gallery Pangolin. Most recently he was commissioned to carve a Dodo in Alabaster for Oliver Hoare’s exhibition in London, ‘Every Object Tells a Story’. Large scale commissions include a reclining figure in Travertine marble for Covent Garden and more recently three bears in Belgian Fossil Marble for Bicester Village.
“Michael’s empathy for his subject allows his chisel deftly to reveal not only the inner calm and beauty of the stone but also the essence of the animal itself. This is not ‘Nature, red in tooth and claw’, nor sanitised sentimentality; Michael’s sculptures are dignified, self-assured, independent and respectful. They have a deep and quiet energy perhaps imparted by the long hours of chipping which bring them forth from the stone. Michael Cooper’s work brings the third dimension vividly to life through the irresistible urge to feel and caress surface and form. With eyes closed, this abstract, almost musical pleasure is an essential part of the appreciation of his sculptures.” – Rungwe Kingdon, Pangolin Editions
“Michael Cooper is a friend and near neighbour of mine and, some years ago, I asked him whether he would be prepared to do a piece for a new garden I was making at that time and in which there was an empty plinth. ‘I will do you a gorilla’, he said and there it stands, or rather sits, today – greatly admired and loved by all the children who visit the garden during the summer. Michael has the most wonderful talent for portraying animals, as those of you that have seen his sculpture in many public places will know. I am lucky to have one of his rather smaller sculptures of a hippopotamus in bronze, a comfortable and substantial animal which sits on a table in front of the fire.” – Lord Carrington