Julie Cockburn Intricate Visual Language Challenges How We Perceive Each Other

In the internet age we live in, images are disembodied and expandable—bundles of pixels relentlessly streaming across the screens of our smartphones and computers—so there is something edifying in the way London-based artist Julie Cockburn has been painstakingly exploring the physicality of analogue photographs. Inquisitive in nature and meticulous in execution, Cockburn reanimates lost and discarded images by embroidering, painting or reassembling them in order to reveal latent narratives and hidden meanings. Her process, concealment for the sake of exposition, may seem counter-intuitive—she calls it “paradoxical unmasking”—but it’s meant to prod viewers to look behind the façades we put up, challenging the way we perceive each other and the world around us.  Cockburn’s delicate craftsmanship and unique visual language was on full display in her latest exhibition, ‘Telling it Slant’ at London’s Flowers Gallery. Inspired by an Emily Dickinson poem-cum-meditation on truth, Tell all the Truth but Tell it Slantthe exhibition showcased a collection of studio portraits and postcard landscapes adorned with laboriously embroidered dazzling polka dots, interlocking geometric grids and kaleidoscopic triangle patterns, intricate beading, vibrant screen printing and gestural flurries of paint. With a comprehensive monograph just out by Chose Commune, and another exhibition on the way, it has been a busy year for Cockburn who recently found some time to chat with Yatzer about her work, interests, and embroidery skills.

Courtesy of Yazter