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Themes and Variations

11 April 2024 - 1 June 2024

The twenty-four wall sculptures which comprise the suite titled Third Variations make primary use of geometric shapes and solids: ovoids, circles, rectangles, cylinders, lines, curves and so on.

The variations evolve from consideration and manipulation of the usual formal aspects of sculpture: proportion, shadow, light and shade, intervening spaces, implied movement, scale, depth, colour, placement etc.

There is no intended narrative.

This work could be perceived as rooted in the traditions of constructivism: i.e. additive or subtractive construction as opposed to traditional modelling or carving techniques.

It is, for me, part of an ongoing, though variable, process: working in series to investigate the possibilities (by speculating and improvising) inherent in wall relief compositions.

In this instance the works are smaller in scale than is usual. They employ the use of ash and sycamore with the application of one or two colours.

Making works in series has, for some years, been my preferred route to conclusions. Working in this way, I find that the sculpture feeds the sculpture: testing a notion invariably raises alternative ideas. Consistency of scale and palette provides control of a kind, but the pieces are essentially instinctual and improvisational.

Earlier works such as Diaspora (Talbot Rice Edinburgh 1995), Speaking in Tongues  (John David Mooney Gallery, Chicago 2003), The Plural, made in 2012 (collection of McManus Gallery, Dundee ), and Songlines, made in 2019, (collection of St Andrews University) followed a similar working procedure despite their differing identities.

Doug Cocker March 2024

Cocker has undertaken many public sculpture commissions including the Ben Lomond Memorial at Rowardennan and the Glasgow Bouquet in the Merchant City, Glasgow. Doug Cocker’s sculpture is the artist’s response to the landscape and natural environment around him. Working predominately in wood, his studio in Lundie, outside Dundee, is a magnificent thinking space where the walls are littered with evolving ideas. Themes and Variations is his first solo exhibition with The Scottish Gallery which will be shown in conjunction with Dovecot Studios.

Born: 1945

Doug Cocker was brought up in rural Perthshire and comes from a long line of farmers and blacksmiths. He taught sculpture at Nene College, Northampton and Gray’s School of Art, Aberdeen and over a period of twenty years he was visiting lecturer at Edinburgh University, Edinburgh College of Art, The Glasgow School of Art, Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art, Dundee, Tyler University, Philadelphia, Georgian College, Ontario and Newcastle Polytechnic from 1992–1998. He was elected to the Royal Scottish Academy in 1984.

Cocker has undertaken many public sculpture commissions including the Ben Lomond Memorial at Rowardennan and the Glasgow Bouquet in the Merchant City, Glasgow. Doug Cocker’s sculpture is the artist’s response to the landscape and natural environment around him. Working predominately in wood, his studio in Lundie, outside Dundee, is a magnificent thinking space where the walls are littered with evolving ideas.

Public commissions include:

Perth, Glasgow, Dundee, Ayr, Oldbury, Cardiff, Bristol

Public collections include:

Aberdeen Art Gallery; Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre; The McManus: Dundee’s Art Gallery and Museum; City Art Centre, Edinburgh; Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow; Hunterian Art Gallery, Glasgow; Greenshields Foundation, Montreal; Peterborough Art Gallery; Royal Scottish Academy of Art and Architecture, Edinburgh; Northampton Art Gallery; Kirkcaldy Galleries; Perth Museum and Art Gallery; The Ballinglen Archive, County Mayo; Robert Gordon University Collection, Aberdeen; University of Dundee; Boswell Collection, University of St. Andrews; Arts Council of Great Britain; Old Hawkhill, City of Dundee, Dundee; University of Stirling; Hospitalfield, Arbroath; University of South Wales Art Collection Museum


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