Subverting symbols of perfectionism and aspiration:

London-based Jess Cochrane’s powerful new body of work

Mixed Signals is a dynamic new solo exhibition from Canberra-born artist Jess Cochrane, whose star is fast on the rise in the international scene. Cochrane’s digital photography – which she styles in an editorial manner then paints over – is known for its elements of subversion as she explores themes around desire and semiotics (the study of signs and symbols as elements of communicative behaviour).

Opening at aMBUSH Gallery Canberra on 10 February, Mixed Signals showcases over a dozen multidisciplinary pieces, which Cochrane created in Canberra during a recent visit from her home base in London. It’s a thought-provoking examination of the perceptions of beauty, and the polarising and often binary ways we view people, especially with regard to sexuality.

Produced and presented by aMBUSH Gallery, and co-curated with Cochrane, Mixed Signals is a lively assortment of stylised photographic portraits embellished with rough, gestural mark-making using acrylic paint, to make the viewer question the intent of the original image and what truly lies beneath the surface.

As Cochrane explains, “All of my work questions what we’ve been conditioned to think of as beautiful and grotesque, especially in the context of femininity. That leads into an interrogation of our culture and, historically, what makes something beautiful, and what makes something grotesque. The easy way to describe my art is anti-Photoshop.”

By including recognisable elements and iconography that reference popular culture and identity, Cochrane reveals the reflective creative spirit that pervades her work. The individual works have hidden meanings, in both the way the subjects are posed and the objects placed within the images. They are elements that speak multitudes for an audience willing to be engaged by the profound nature of Cochrane’s art, and open to listening to the quiet but powerful interior lives of her subjects.

Don’t miss your opportunity to meet Cochrane at the opening night of Mixed Signals. Secure your free tickets now to join us on Thursday 10 February from 6-8pm for general public admission at aMBUSH Gallery (Cultural Centre Kambri, ANU Building 153, L2, Acton ACT).

There’ll be live music from a local DJ, plus complimentary wine from Lerida Estate and beer from Capital Brewing Co. Please note that aMBUSH Gallery is a Covid-safe venue operating according to current government rules and regulations, and density limits will apply.

Mixed Signals will be open free of charge to the public until Tuesday 15 March (showing daily from 10am-6pm weekdays and 12pm-5pm on weekends). All artworks are for sale.


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