Children are seducers in Chelsea
Love", 2008 Oil on canvas 66 x 66 in. By Mike Coktrill.
Photo by Kent Gallery.
"Sentiment and Seduction" is a new exhibition
by Mike Cockrill, open from April 9 to May 29 at the Kent Gallery
in Chelsea, New York. Lightly provocative, most of the paintings
illustrate the sometimes-shocking theme of children confronting
sexuality lovingly. In a society where we often question whether
our children are discovering sex too young, Cockrill may be pushing
our buttons with his innocent paintings.
Day," 2008 Oil on canvas 64 x 50 in, by Mick Cokrill. Photo
by Kent Gallery.
With a similarity to Norman Rockwell's style, Cockrill
presents a mix between Naïve Art and adult themes. Naïve art is
a painting movement characterized notably by an important sense
of detail, "happy" color and an ingenuous representation
of people and objects. The result is very lively and colorful.
Scout Salute," 2009
Oil on canvas 46 x 38 in. By Mike Cokrill. Photo by Kent Gallery.
What is fabulous about his paintings it is the way
Cockrill can create Naïve Art paintings that are beautiful and seem
to be for children, but at the same time are very provocative. This
is for me the ingenuity of Mike Cockrill. From an artistic point
of view, the colors and the drawings are remarkable and Cockrill
reproduces children's expressions wonderfully.
A graduate of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine
Arts, Cockrill has exhibited in New York since 1981. At the beginning
of his career, he was much criticized for the shocking aspect of
his drawings and paintings. His Baby Doll/Clown Killer series in
1995 made his international reputation. This new exhibit expresses
his vision of the transition between childhood and adulthood, inspired
by his personal experiences. He describes his childhood awakening
as the thought that "Everything I've been told by adults is
a lie. Parents are hiding something — a hidden room I have not yet
entered. I was 10. Toto had pulled back Oz's curtain."
Mike Cockrill is described by Kent Gallery as a
forerunner of the current interest in nostalgic figuration. These
works are provocative, surprising and magnificent. [Suzanne