Rose Corcoran (b. 1972) studied History of Art at Edinburgh University and Fine Art at City and Guilds, London. She completed her Masters degree at the Royal College of Art in 2000.
A period living in northern India in 1990 was formative in her artistic development, and with many visits since, she has established a close relationship with the sub-continent. She first saw tigers in the wild at Kahna (the setting of Kipling's 'Jungle Book'), and she was overwhelmed by the contrast with her experience of only seeing tigers in captivity, where she had previously studied them.
She became fascinated by the paradoxical power of big cats – their fearsome strength, yet their affectionate and nurturing nature to their young. The endangered status of these awesome animals became a passionate concern as she met the renowned animal campaigner Valmik Thapar, and through him visited Ranthambore Reserve, one of the last strongholds of the wild tiger.
Rosie believes in making art for a purpose, and intends her work to highlight the magnificence of the nature she depicts, but also its nearness to extinction through the actions of human beings. As much as depicting individual animals, she aspires to evoke the essence and vitality of the species in each image, with her own talent and passion for her chosen subject matter.
Like her great predecessors in the depiction of animals, such as Rembrandt Bugatti, Antoine-Louis Barye or George Stubbs, she seeks to convey movement and the potential for movement, as well as the 'fearful symmetry' of her beasts. While she has a deep knowledge of the traditional techniques of drawing and printmaking, she marries these to a bold use of modern technology. She sometimes deploys video footage of animals in action, freeze-framing to analyse their structure and movement and she uses photographic techniques to construct complex, compound images of animals in unusual settings.
Corcoran is an artist both deeply traditional and clearly contemporary. Her work is dedicated to a secure future for her animal subjects in their natural habitat, which also assures her own future in the art world.she has built up a dedicated following for her incredible drawings, some are massively over scale, even larger than life-size studies of the beasts are not unusual, and all her exhibitions sell out in a matter of days. She has exhibited with the Sladmore in London and at many art fairs both home and abroad, as well as having one man shows in Paris and New York and Santa Fe in recent years.
ROSE CORCORAN: A SHORT NOTE ON TECHNIQUES
Rose is an artist who deploys a wide range of techniques in her work. She first trained at the City and Guilds in the traditional methods and disciplines that remain important to her. These included life drawing and painting, lithography, etching, wood-engraving and woodcut.
Charcoal drawing. The oldest image-making medium known to man. Charcoal (kiln-burned wood) is nowadays manufactured in varying densities and in conjunction with different textures of fine art papers (handmade, hot and cold-pressed, 'waterleaf ' etc.) it offers a vast range of mark-making potential. In her worked-up presentation drawings, Corcoran exploits the medium to its fullest, using the medium to create deep, rich, velvety blacks.
Pastel. Developed in France in the eighteenth century, prior to tube oil paints, as a portable colour medium, pastel consists of pure powder pigment, offering subtle blending effects. Like charcoal, pastel has no binding agent, so requires a fixative layer to render it permanent. Corcoran often uses charcoal and pastel in combination to give a monochrome drawing dramatic or delicate nuance.
Wash. In conjunction with pastel and charcoal, Corcoran employs water washes to soften, blend, and in some cases crispen the dry pigment. To use washes, the paper has to be pre-stretched by soaking and taping to a board, giving a taut surface that will not buckle with further moisture. Corcoran frequently builds a complex 'ground' of washes that might include unorthodox staining agents such as tea.