BERNARD COOK (1944-2017)

This catalogue is a tribute to the extraordinary career of master screenprinter Bernard Cook. It represents his personal archive of the editions he collaborated on at the White Ink and Serigraphic studios, as well as works he was gifted by the many artists he encountered on his journey.  

Bernard commenced his printing career at the young age of 16; straight from school he entered a print studio in Islington, where he began learning the ropes of his trade. He went on to join the pioneering printers G&B Arts, formed in 1950 by John Gorman and Lionel Bart. Based in Shelford Place in Stoke Newington, it was at G&B that Bernard started to specialise in screenprinting. 

After several years spent cementing his technical skills, Bernard was approached by the printer Cliff White to join White Ink, the fine art printmaking studio he had established with artist/designer Gordon House in 1970. They had moved their workshop from Southwark to the G&B complex in Shelford Place in 1974, looking to expand their premises, and were keen to add screenprinting to the choice of mediums they offered to the fast-expanding list of artists they worked with. Bernard built deep and lasting friendships with many of the artists he editioned with, especially Brian Grimwood, Ralph Steadman, Uzo Egonu and Gordon House. 

Following a highly successful run, having printed important suites of works for the likes of Paolozzi, Pasmore and Frink, White Ink closed at the end of the seventies as a result of White’s decision to move to America. At this point Bernard joined forces with Bill Atkinson (a representative at G&B Arts), and together they launched a screenprinting studio called Serigraphic. Bernard continued  to print the occasional fine art project, maintaining his relationships with artists such as Uzo Egonu and Brian Grimwood, but began to focus more on commercial work. This led to future work with another colleague, John Turner, and the purchase of a lithography studio called Premier Metropolis, which along with Serigraphic completed the ‘Code Secure’ printing group. Bernard’s son, Adrian, joined his father in the early eighties, and they worked together until he set up his own consultancy when Bernard sold up in the late nineties.

This unique archive provides a fascinating insight into the British art world of the seventies and eighties, and the varied projects a printmaker turns their hands to in the studio. Whether at White Ink or Serigraphic, these editions are testament to Bernard’s immense talents as a screenprinter and the symbiotic relationship between printer and artist when bringing prints to life.

“What I remember most from those days as a young boy visiting the studio in Shelford Place, was watching Dad print on the hand bench whilst making a mess when trying to etch on old clay mats. Good times!” 
- Quote by Adrian Cook