Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Julie Cockburn: Filling the Cracks with Ceiling Wax

Entering the world of Julie Cockburn’s images – a labyrinthine space crosshatched by ‘the archived corridors’ of the artist’s imagination – we are met by a coterie of misfits: cut-outs, collages and aggregate creatures, they are the cast in a vignette where visual seduction is saturated by a sense of the familiar made strange. Cockburn’s characters are engendered from of a heady concoction of appropriation, artistry and artifice. Central to their creation is the cache of found images – neglected photographs co-opted from car boots, studio shots of 1950s movie stars, pages torn from American high school year books – that become playthings for the artist to ‘embellish, manipulate, torture and caress’. The portraits that Cockburn selects for her maverick mark-making are united in their status as images once dazzling but now defunct. She explains the allure of these outcasts and faded icons as their potential for redemption through a re-possession and re-visioning: ‘I feel I have a right to them, that they are mine for the taking, or rescuing even’.

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