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William Cokeley /

Note from the gallery: 


     I have always held good absrtactionists like Cokeley in the highest regard. What they do is quite brave, setting out on their adventure like Don Quixote with sword in hand, creating great windmills with which to do battle. The best ones eventually cut their ties with convention and reality while leading us into a world of their own making. We are richer by far if we venture there.

Cokeley speaks to Marshall and Victoria Lightman"s collectors group, Looking at Art, September 2014. Click on image above to view larger.


A Brief overview of American Lyrical Abstraction:


American Lyrical Abstraction is an art movement that emerged in New York City, Los Angeles, Washington, DC, and then Toronto and London during the 1960s–1970s. Characterized by intuitive and loose paint handling, spontaneous expression, illusionist space, acrylic  staining, process, occasional imagery, and other painterly and newer technological techniques. Lyrical Abstraction led the way away from minimalism in painting and toward a new freer expressionism. Painters who directly reacted against the predominating Formalist, Minimalist, and Pop Art and geometric abstraction styles of the 1960s, turned to new, experimental, loose, painterly, expressive, pictorial and abstract painting styles. Many of them had been Minimalists, working with various monochromatic, geometric styles, and whose paintings publicly evolved into new abstract painterly motifs. American Lyrical Abstraction is related in spirit to Abstract Expressionism, Color Field painting 

and European Tachisme of the 1940s and 1950s as well. Tachisme refers to the French style of abstract painting current in the 1945–1960  eriod. Very close to Art Informel, it presents the European equivalent to Abstract Expressionism.


As a movement, Lyrical Abstraction extended the post-war Modernist aesthetic and provided a new dimension within the abstract tradition 

which was clearly indebted to Jackson Pollock's "dripped painting" and Mark Rothko's stained, color forms. This movement was born out of 

a desire to create a direct physical and sensory experience of painting through their monumentality and emphasis on color – forcing the viewer to "read" paintings literally as things. During 2009 the Boca Raton Museum of Art in Florida hosted an exhibition entitled Expanding Boundaries: Lyrical Abstraction 


Lyrical Abstraction arose in the 1960s and 70s, following the challenge of Minimalism and Conceptual art. Many artists began moving away from geometric, hard-edge, and minimal styles, toward more lyrical, sensuous, romantic abstractions worked in a loose gestural style. These "lyrical abstractionists" sought to expand the boundaries of abstract painting, and to revive and reinvigorate a painterly "tradition" in American art. At the same time, these artists sought to reinstate the primacy of line and color as formal elements in works composed according to aesthetic principles – rather than as the visual representation of sociopolitical realities or philosophical theories.


Characterized by intuitive and loose paint handling, spontaneous expression, illusionist space, acrylic staining, process, occasional imagery,  and other painterly techniques, artists like Dick Wray, Perry House, and Dorthy Hood first recognized as a major element of the Houston Museum of Fine Arts "Fresh Paint" exhibition curated by Barbara Rose and Susie Kalil in 1985.

William Cokely 2016

William Cokely 2014 - 2015

About William Cokeley: 

William Cokeley began his undergraduate studies in 1982 at the University of Florida attending the School of Fine Arts where he studied Art History while attending studio classes in Drawing, Design and Photography. 


In 1985 Cokeley left the university to study privately with abstract expressionist Jeanne Pelligrino in Orange Park Florida, before returning to school in 1989 to finish his degree in art History at the University of North Florida. While earning his art history degree the artist was drawn to the works of Willem de Kooning, Per Kirkeby, Joan Mitchell and Cy Twombly which prompted him to return to Florida State College in Jacksonville to study under Anne Banas before leaving for the Netherlands in 2007. 

For a year in The Hague, Cokeley worked in the studio space provided by the Vrijie Academie, and explored his techniques in oils. In 2009 he moved to Amsterdam, and because of health concerns, began working in acrylics as he dose now. Here Cokeley apprentice with well known Dutch artist, and Karl Appel associate Arty Grimm. This was an inspirational period for William Cokeley working in Grimm's studio in the heart of Amsterdam, where the artist discovered the core of what we see in his works today.

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