Born in Hamilton in 1951, Rick moved to Grimsby for his high school years. Through this period, art and music took over his life. Rick excelled in both disciplines and either could have been a life career choice, however, bar band gigs moved him to concentrate on art. His search took him to the Ontario College of Art. He stayed one year. The powers that be wanted abstraction; there was no room for traditionalists.
The upshot of this situation pushed Rick to systematically delve into the worlds of Rembrandt, Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Rubens, Velasquez, Goya, and El Greco. He emulated their fastidious techniques, compositions, and themes. As he was mastering all of this, he was smitten by the impact of Picasso’s “Demoiselles d’Avignon”. The painting opened a new respect for contemporary figurative art. This did not change Rick’s basic work, but allowed a freedom to insert objects, wild colors, drips and slashes, and even gold leaf.
Rick Cook’s signature style combines the old masters and the freedom of the early 20th century artists. He focuses on the human form, portraits, nudes, Madonnas, and epics from literature and he adds his wild side to each painting. As he works a piece, he creates and destroys simultaneously. Traditional expression and bold exploration come together beautifully.
Since his one-man show at the Art Gallery of Hamilton in 1980, Rick has had many solo and group exhibitions across Canada. He is an inaugural member of Hamilton’s Tiger.