Gordon Cook

artist artwork
Gordon Cook was born in 1927 in Chicago, Illinois. He attended Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington where he received his B.F.A in 1950. Cook then went on to study fundamentals and life drawing at The American Academy of Art in Chicago. The same year he studied intaglio printmaking with Vera Berdich at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He took graduate courses and continued studying intaglio printmaking under artist Mauricio Lasansky at the State University of Iowa.

In 1951, Cook moved to San Francisco. Soon after his works received the journeyman’s card in International Typographical Union, Local 21. He began exhibiting his prints, drawings, and paintings at the Porpoise gallery in San Francisco.Four years later, Cook became a charter member of the Bay Printmakers Society and exhibited in their annual exhibitions at the Oakland Art Museum for the next five years. His etchings portrayed mainly San Francisco landscapes such as the Golden Gate Park, Diamond Heights, and Lake Merced as well as flowers, especially roses.

He participated in his first weekly drawing group with artist Alvin Light, Manuel Neri, Joan Brown, and William H. Brown. Cook also taught at the San Francisco Art Institute. His etchings where exhibited in a one man exhibition at the Fine ArtsMuseums of San Francisco, in the Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts. At this point Cook returned to painting. Moving to Rio Vista, California he participated in his second drawing group with Manuel Neri, Joan Brown, and Robert Arneson.Cook’s new paintings where exhibited at the Bolles Gallery and Lawsen Galleries in San Francisco. The same year, he began teaching printmaking at Sacramento State University. He returned to San Francisco and taught printmaking at Academy of Art College and exhibited his works in the Charles Campbell Gallery San Francisco.

Setting his printmaking aside in 1974, Cook taught at San Francisco State University and the University of California Davis while he continued his drawing groups. For two years he worked as a driver and dispatcher for United Courier, Inc., which permitted him only a small amount of time for his artwork. He resumed his printmaking in 1979 along with drawing and continued lecturing at UC Davis. In 1980, a private support group enabled Cook to focus solely on his artwork. He then exhibited at the Allan Stone Gallery in New York, with Wayne Thiebaud and David Beck.

He continued his career alternating between teaching and art making. He taught drawing and painting at Mills College and California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland. Cook worked on several print projects with Limestone Press, “made in California”, Teaburry Press, and Scott Green. He also developed a series of sculptures which later appeared in drawings, painting and prints.In the final year of his career Cook painted and printed a series of Amish Dolls and began a bronze sculpture project of stick figures with “made in California”.