Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Julie Cockburn: All Work And No Play

Regular readers will know that I am a big fan of embroidery and the process of stitching into paper (here), so it was an absolute joy to see these works by artist Julie Cockburn at Flowers on Cork street at the weekend. I love the sense of nostalgia evoked by the relative anonymity of the sitters in these early to mid twentieth century studio portraits, and the vibrantly coloured enhancement of the stitched interventions. The stitched additions look like spirit orbs in some of the works, and in others like cages, or rather the various sitters auras which are supposed to fluctuate and change in colour according to mood, (if you happen to believe in the esoteric). They are also like surreal, modern equivalents of the haloes of saintly figures in Renaissance paintings.

I also like these 'fractured' portraits by Cockburn in the exhibition. They hint at neuroses and something more complex, and perhaps darker in the sitter's psyche, hidden behind the formal, contrived poses presented by the sitters. They remind me of the sense of anxiety evoked in Picasso's Weeping Woman painting in Tate Britain. I really enjoyed this colourful show for both the craftsmanship and processes employed by the artist. The exhibition runs until the end of September.

Julie Cockburn: All Work And No Play
until 30th September
21 Cork Street