Ben Cove passed away a couple of weeks ago, the news was rather shocking, the news came out of the blue, no, surely not?
I hadn’t heard from Ben or spoken to him since his last London show, the rather unexpected news stopped everything. I can’t claim to have known Ben that well but it was a pleasure to know him in a small way both as a person and as an artist. And he was (is) a painter to be very much admired, it was always a pleasure to see his work hanging on (or leaning against) a gallery wall, to go to one of his shows and explore his shapes, his language, his forms, a pleasure indeed to chat with him about his work, his art and the making of art in general, always a treat to encounter him in his studio. He was a person and a painter always so alive with enthusiasm, art clearly excited him, painting did, he always seemed so happy to talk, to chat, and his work really was something to chat about. Whenever I did meet him I was always greeted with a great big grin and some positive words, it was always a pleasure to encounter the wonderful person that Ben Cove was.
And as his friend Emily Speed has already articulated, I too feel cheated, there was indeed so much more to come, he’d only just turned 40 for heaven’s sake. A painter who had produced so much already but a painter only just starting. I’m going to miss Ben as a person, I’m going to miss his smile and enthusiasm and I’m really going to miss Ben Cove as an artist, I’m going to miss not seeing any more work from a rather significant painter who was already standing out in a rather rewarding way.
Emily Speed’s rather moving tribute can be read over on the A-N website. It was pleasure and a privilege to know Ben and to experience the man and his art, a painter to celebrate and a life lived well. R.I.P Ben Cove, our thoughts are with Ben’s friends and family (SW)
Studio shot “borrowed” from the Cork Lined Rooms website