The Heaton Cooper Studio has built an acclaimed reputation for staging a top-class in-house and touring exhibition programme.
The Heaton Cooper family have created a world leading artistic space known as the Archive Gallery, located in the heart of Grasmere, in the English Lake District, a space devoted to mountain art. The Archive Gallery has exhibited innovative contemporary works by artists such as Tessa Lyons, stunning mountain photography by Henry Iddon, environmental photography by Ashley Cooper, illuminating sculpture by Ophelia Gordon Bell and high fashion by artist and designer Linda Ryle alongside works by the UK’s leading contemporary mountain artist Julian Cooper.
The team continue to develop a varied programme of exhibitions themed specifically around mountain art, curating a programme based on the key themes of mountains, nature and humankind’s connection to and immersion in the landscapes in which we live. The world’s diverse mountain scenery, moulded over many millions of years by the forces of nature forms the basis of a compelling tale that has inspired and captivated for millennia. A tale that has captivated the Heaton Cooper family for four generations and has inspired them to capture the embodiment of the world’s most iconic mountain landscapes from the Himalaya, Norwegian Fjords to the Lake District Fells, their spiritual and physical home.
The Heaton Cooper Archive Gallery, Grasmere, is set to host a new exhibition titled “Unpicturesque” this spring with work by seven painters and photographers chosen by Julian Cooper, and which will run from May until 30th September.
The featured work, by Martin Greenland, Alan Stones, Rebecca Scott, Alan Thompson, Julian Cooper and John & Rosamund Macfarlane, who all live and work in Cumbria and the Lake District; extends and complements our inherited ideas of the ‘picturesque’ in both art and landscape,
This term originated in Italy in the 16th century and referred to non-classical subjects in painting, with the French painter Claude Lorraine in particular embodying the picturesque ideal in landscape painting. The Lake District assumed its own identity as a distinct region after becoming a vehicle for ideas of the picturesque imported into English cultural debate by William Gilpin in the 18th century. For tourists the landscape was to be enjoyed as a series of leisurely ‘views’ from particular standpoints, preferably seen through a Claude glass.
This way of viewing the Lake District survives largely intact through contemporary paintings, film, photographs, and publicity material promoting the tourist industry. How we see profoundly affects the way we think, and seeing this and other landscapes as not merely ’scenery’ but rather a dynamic layering of natural and human systems, all connecting to each other, may help in adjusting our attitudes to the benefit of all who live and visit here, whether they be human or non-human.