This triptych was specially commissioned to commemorate the life of Caroline Harry Thomas QC, who studied Law at the University of Exeter from 1975-78. She became one of the most distinguished practitioners in medical law of her generation. Sadly, she passed away in 2011 but will be remembered as an inspiring role model and a wonderful lifelong friend to many of her Exeter contemporaries.
Friends from the University of Exeter donated money in Caroline’s memory to establish a lasting memorial, in order to provide inspiration to current and future generations of Law students at Exeter.
Caroline was proud of her Welsh heritage and as such her family thought it a fitting tribute to choose Mark Cooke, an artist who works predominantly with Welsh slate, for the sculpture commission.
The piece consists of three sections of Welsh slate, each made of many-faceted inserts; some are coarse and some are finished with linseed oil. The variety of textures and colours of the slate shows off the beauty of this natural medium to great effect.
Mark Cooke explains that working with stone is a means of transformation. This piece represents a modification of a part of the Earth in the name of shared social memory for someone who is no longer present. It is an attempt at solidifying the transience of life by those who want to perpetuate into the future the achievements of a life lived. The basic element of rock is brought out of its existential existence and socialised in an act of alteration.
Mark’s design ideas draw upon natural and abstract forms. He works in an open ended way which enables the creation of unexpected and unplanned designs.
Find out more about the artist here.