Mike Cockrill: Artist Spotlight (New York 2013)

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1945

Mike is a Virginia-born artist who lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. He was interviewed in his Brooklyn studio on May 9, 2013. In this in-depth interview, Mike talks about how he emerged as an artist, who he considers his role-models, the state of representational art and its role in the contemporary art saturated market. He also talks about his experience collaborating with Judge Hughes on the White Papers – a picture book about assassination of JFK to the assassination of John Lennon. His works can be seen at his web site: http://mikecockrill.com About Mike Cockrill has been making conceptually engaged, socially challenging work since he first began showing in the East Village in the early 1980s. Cockrill—who grew up in the suburbs of Washington, DC, in the late 50s and early 60s—has a particular affinity with the pop-culture images of postwar America, and their darker subtexts. A classically trained painter, Cockrill also has the skills to understand an idiom and then deftly twist it, literally and conceptually. He has been doing this from his early cartoons, which are hybrids of suburban cheeriness and Indian-miniature eroticism, to his later paintings that adopt the cloying style of 1950s children’s book illustrations while exposing their undercurrent of sexually charged fantasy. Existential Man 14 November 2013 — 25 January 2014 With Existential Man, Cockrill has invented a character who seems to have stepped out of the 1960s, but who, unlike the confident adman in his Brooks Brothers suit, is a hapless middle-manager in a cotton-poly, short-sleeved shirt, with a bad buzz cut. Cockrill’s deft use of period detail signals to us what his character is not as much as what he is. He will not be having martini lunches and rising to the top of the postwar American dreamscape. Instead, Cockrill’s Existential Man is an everyman who inevitably finds himself in extremis in the midst of mundane everyday routines, who has no real chance in the land of opportunity, and who still carries dutifully on. For further information, contact Douglas Walla (dkw@KentFineArt.net) or Jeanne Marie Wasilik (jmw@KentFineArt.net).

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