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Mad Dogs & Englishmen

An Exhibition By Vanessa Cooper 1 Jul - 22 Jul 2023
Fur Babies. Birds & Animals Figurative Paintings by Vanessa Cooper. Oil on board.

“My paintings are a comment on the everyday astonishment, curiosity, affection and gratitude for the world around us, rather the joy, than sadness and anger”

Vanessa Cooper , - Mad Dogs & Englishmen

Fur Babies. Birds & Animals Figurative Paintings by Vanessa Cooper. Oil on board.


1st July - 22nd July 2023

Private View

1st July 2023
12:00 pm - 3:00 pm


White Space Art - Totnes
72 Fore Street

About the Exhibition

Mad Dogs and Englishmen, Vanessa Cooper’s fourth solo exhibition at White Space features her now familiar and life-affirming homages to nature and animals. They are colourful, exuberant paintings with healthy doses of irascible humour. When asked what inspires her, the immediate reply is: “Walking is absolutely crucial. If I don’t walk I can’t paint. Just pottering around town inspires me. It can be anything, the ornaments in someone’s window – what they mean to the occupants. And remember to look up! Watch the sky traffic. There is a pigeon gang in town and seagulls camping on chimney tops, waiting for their opportunity. You see stories around you all the time.”

Living on the south coast in Dorset, in an artistic town, which also attracts city dwellers escaping to the country, she spots some odd things. “The people walking their dogs. Recently I’m seeing a lot of dogs in clothes, being pushed in prams, it strikes me as very funny and quite absurd.”

It feeds her anthropomorphic paintings, where animals take on human characteristics. “They are perfect puppets, animals make wonderful characters. It’s an old literary device. I think the domestic settings comes from my years of raising children. I have four kids. There is a lot of time at home, sitting at the tea table.”

Her passion for the beauty in the everyday extends to nature and can be seen in her zestful still life. “Looking at flowers, they literally blow my mind,” she says. “The colours are incredible. This time of year is incredible. The painting Romeo and Juliet is a love letter to spring. The whole cycle starts again. New life, new beginnings, the hope, that’s Fertility Tree. Nature doesn’t lie, it’s all perfect. Humbling and uplifting.”


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