Artist Michael Cook opens gallery

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A stable which many moons ago would have housed a horse is now home to leaping hares, prowling foxes, patterned nightjars and other creatures.

The menagerie are all in paintings by Derbyshire artist Michael Cook. These and other figures adorn the walls of what he has named The Manger Gallery.

Michael’s family who were once market gardeners have lived at the farm in Kings Newton, near Melbourne, for more than 120 years.

He was born and brought up in the hamlet with his five elder siblings, and it is there that he spent his childhood, drawing and painting, inspired by the nature he saw around him.

Eventually he flew the nest and set up home in Derby but, now his parents have died, the family have moved back to their roots.

“It is a small atmospheric gallery in part of my family home and it is the perfect space for the dream-like and densely atmospheric imagery in my drawings and paintings, which is an imaginative distillation of memories and sensations of the gardens, orchards, fields and lanes of my childhood,” explains Michael.

“The over-arching feeling is often melancholy, quietly joyful, contemplative and soulful,” he added.

He also wants to use the gallery to draw attention to a handful of regional artists whose work links with the concerns evident in his own work. He will be staging regular themed exhibitions that reflect the seasons and the Christian year.

The first of those, Seeing Stars – An Exhibition for the Dark Nights, opens for Advent on December 1 and features the sculptures of Peter Eugene Ball, stained glass by Juliet Forrest, ceramics by Mary Johnson, lettering by Elizabeth Forrest and paintings by Rebecca Mercer, Duncan Pass, John Rattigan, Sarah Sharpe, Anna Thomas and of course Michael himself.

The exhibition will be open until February 2 encompassing Christmas, Epiphany and Candlemas.

To visit the gallery go to http://www.mangergallery.co.uk or telephone Michael on 01332 862365.

Work by Michael can also be seen  at Ingleby Gallery, Ingleby near Melbourne until December 10.

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