A series of works on paper by Mike Cockrill is on view at KENT gallery, a follow up on a recent show on paintings. Both shows cover the almost redundant theme of naiveté, adolescence, sexual curiosity and exploration. They are soft, dreamy and effeminate, with image of pretty girls, butterflies and airy colors. The girls engage the tainted and pedophilic impulses in the viewer with their taunting come hither glances, pleasure driven poses, scanty clothing. They act innocently, we react pornographically. The watercolors are thinnly painted but the result is rich, especially when using colored paper creating a monochrome background making way for a more fantasy driven narrative. The amount of violence imbedded into the narrative is disturbing and leaves the viewer at unease, jumbling pleasure with pain, admiration with repulsion. This ambivalence
Not as successfully affective or intriguing is a series titled from Stations of the Cross. A numbered series of watercolor on paper works picturing various protagonists as Jesus going through the process of life and death and resurrection. In one piece Jesus is a black man, in another Jesus is a series of youthful flirtatious women out of the 50s. Neither convincing nor relevant in its attempt to create a successful fantasy narrative concerning condemnation and regurgitated life lines.
Overall, the works of Mike Cockrill is straightforward in its content, disturbingly beautiful in its formal elements, and unfortunately, dismissive.