Greg Rook British, b. 1971

  • Overview
    I am fascinated by the distinct and remarkable forms of utopian social concepts from the past, which offered equal status and responsibility and a real alternative to the contemporary society: the 1970s hippy communes in the western United States, the English communitarian 'digger' projects'; and the Soviet social experiment.

    His work explores particular social experiments, which, for better or worse, are now usually considered to be over and discredited. They are concerned with the disillusioned who choose alternative lifestyles over the mainstream—honyockers, preppers, hippies and end-of-the-worlders; all attracted by the promise of a different paradise. Using romanticised and halcyon imagery, it seems impossible for the viewer to believe that the endeavours of these collectives could be vilified or end in failure.

    He is interested in the motivation behind these lifestyles (whether they were born more from optimism or pessimism), the reasons for their failure and their relevance as contemporary potential futures. The drawn paint represents the last possible scratching out of hopes and aspirations when all else around us falls away… the brush and pigment and liquid line as capable of delineating form and possibility. As the characters dig and toil, the painted line attempts to draw back through Daumier, Van Gogh and Turner through technicolour tinting to a past potential future.

    In 2019, a substantial mid-career survey of the artist’s work was staged by Vento & Associati at the Fabbrica del Vapore in Milan.

    Prices for work from £1,500.

  • Works
  • Essay by Matt Price

    The Practice of Greg Rook
    For many people, the idea of leaving home and starting a new life somewhere else can be a dream. Some make that ambition a reality, uprooting their lives and venturing to faraway places. People might leave home because they are seeking their fortune or a better life; they might be looking to avoid persecution or worse. Leaving home is not, however, always a question of wanting or needing to live somewhere different - it might equally be a matter of choosing to live life differently, of people wanting to change their daily existence in profound or fundamental ways, and perhaps, in the process, to change themselves or society itself. The practice of British artist Greg Rook invites us to consider a complex and compelling array of ideas relating to the themes of emigration,  exodus  and exile, about how people transform their lives or establish entirely new ones, and especially,  how people  across time, geographies, cultures, ideologies and contexts have tried, and continue, to explore alternative ways of living.

    Matt Price, contemporary art publisher, editor and curator
  • Biography


    2019    Honyocker, Vento & Associati, Milan
    2016    Into the Bourne, The Aldridge Gallery, Farnham
    2016    Off-grid, The Stockroom, London
    2015    Off-grid, The Aldridge Gallery, London
    2013    On the Prospect of Establishing a Pantisocracy, Fred [London] Ltd
    2012    Survivors, OMT Gallery, London
    2009    Clean skins, Vegas Gallery, London
    2007    We Live Like This, Lounge Gallery, London
    2005    Myth II, Gallery Min Min, Tokyo
    2005    Myth, Gallery Min Min, Tokyo
    2004    Salvation is a Cowgirl, Adam Street, London
    2004    The Importance of Disappointment, Electric Palace, Hastings
    2003    Sirens, Gallery Min Min, Tokyo
    2001    Greg Rook, Gallery Min Min, Tokyo

    2019    Contemporary British Painting, Yantai Art Museum, Yantai
    2019    Made in Britain, National Gallery of Poland, Gdansk
    2018    Translation, Milton Gallery, London
    2018    Malevolent Eldritch Shrieking, Attercliffe, Sheffield
    2017    Contemporary Masters from Britain, The Tianjin Academy, Tianjin
                travelling to Jiangsu Art Museum, Nanjing & Yantai Art Museum, Yantai
    2015    The Office of Gravitational Documents, Galerie Laurent Mueller, Paris
    2015    Present Tense, Swindon Museum and Art Gallery
    2014    Paint Britain, Ipswich Art School Gallery, Colchester and Ipswich Museums
    2014    Priseman / Seabrook Collection, Huddersfield Art Gallery  
    2013    Timeslip, Gallery Stock, Berlin