From her studio in Christchurch, Nina Cook creates technically exquisite artworks inspired by the land, birdlife and people of Aotearoa.

Her curiosity and broad psychological and socio-political interests often lead her to communicate intense and psychologically complicated views of her subjects. Nina’s skill at accurately capturing her subject’s true spirit and her high degree of technical accomplishment has lead her work to be in high demand both within NZ and overseas.

“Even within the most beautiful landscape, in the trees, under the leaves the insects are eating each other; violence is a part of life.” Francis Bacon


“I aspire to balance the figurative and the emotional. I am fascinated by, and slightly suspicious of, the processes through which people filter sensory information into emotional understanding. To this end I try to create images and objects that cause people to re-think their suppositions.

I work in a contemporary figurative style communicating narratives that explore ‘the human condition’. Works border on the surreal because the realm at the edge of consciousness is where most passions, fears and biases exist. The intention of my work is to be close enough to what people know that the leap between known and unknown does not feel un-instinctive. I want to provide a richer narrative around modern personhood.

As well as many contemporary artists, I love the work of Vermeer, Caravaggio and masters of chiaroscuro. I admire mastery and am impatient with ‘lazy’ technique.

Works in Gallery