Johnnie Cooper: The Listener
British abstract artist Johnnie Cooper presents his new major body of work, inspired by Walter de la Mare’s brooding poem ‘The Listeners’. Painted during the twilight hours outside his woodland studio, Cooper’s work captures the deep beauty and mystery of a forest dissolving into nighttime shadows, bringing a darker and more abstract emotion to the fore.
Following on from Johnnie Cooper’s two previous Black Dog Press publications – Sunset Strip (2019) and Fractured Light (2020) – The Listener focuses on the British abstract artist’s most recent major body of work.
Inspired by Walter de la Mare’s brooding poem ‘The Listeners’ (1912), Cooper’s latest works are beautifully presented in this book, which conveys the power of his polychromatic collection of paintings brilliantly. These works serve as a meditation of the lived experience and the rich atmosphere of the artist’s rural surroundings.
The Listener documents an important shift in Cooper’s practice – in tone and texture, and also in material, with the introduction of industrial bitumen paint. Overall, the paintings bring a darker and more abstract emotion to the fore, confirming Cooper’s status as one of the most distinct and important British artists working in the UK today.
But only a host of phantom listeners
That dwelt in the lone house then
Stood listening in the quiet of the moonlight
To that voice from the world of men:
Stood thronging the faint moonbeams on the dark stair,
That goes down to the empty hall,
Hearkening in an air stirred and shaken
By the lonely Traveller’s call.
by Walter de la Mare