Q&A: Jennifer Cochrane

For three weeks in March, the Lorne Sculpture Biennale in Victoria unveils a number of sculptures from some of Australia’s most celebrated and emerging artists. This year, Western Australia’s own Jennifer Cochrane will make the trip to showcase Barricade Monuments 2.

Name: Jennifer Cochrane

Occupation: Artist

Location: Perth

Tell us a bit about your involvement in the Lorne Sculpture Biennale.
I was fortunate enough to be selected for the 2016 exhibition in what is a competitive process. My proposed work for the exhibition, Barricade Monuments 2, is the second in a series of works. I am excited at the prospect of participating in the exhibition and realising the challenges of creating a work on the other side of the country to be installed in such a fantastic site.

So what is the story behind Barricade Monuments 2?
These sculptures interpret a barricade form with the intention to reference the function of such forms whilst removing them from their original context. The scale and materials are intended to create works that are suggestive of monolithic monuments from times gone by. They become large-scale forms that have a sense of the familiar, however their meaning is ambiguous and open to interpretation.

When did you know you wanted to work in the creative design industry?
Primary school – when I first realised I could draw, this pretty much continued throughout all of my schooling and I studied a fine arts degree directly after high school. Following on from the degree I travelled and worked in the north of WA and then tried to find the perfect job to support my ‘art habit’ till I realised there was no such thing for me.
I have since been making works for public spaces and exhibitions as a professional artist for the last 15 years. Within my practice there are intertwining concepts and approaches but always the works are the result of a foundation drawn from process oriented, object based works. Ultimately my art practice stems from a passion and undeniable necessity to make and create as a connection and response to my surroundings.

What is unique about the way you work?
My sculptures are labour intensive and involve highly repetitious processes to create the final form. The processes and medium have a strong link to a ‘tradition’ of sculpture, however it is my intention to subvert traditional preconceived ideas of sculpture through my work. An ongoing pursuance of this subversion is the exploration of producing multiples of a form that are arranged in direct response to the site to create the final work.
These works are grouped together as the Stack Series. Another series of works is the Monument Series. These works are a recurring exploration into the concept of sculptures as monuments and began from a fascination with the history of monuments as public works, imposed upon people from the powers that be.
Initial sculptures in the Monument Series were based on road signs with the intention to take the 2-dimensional images and produce large-scale forms that acted as a commentary on pervasive over-regulation within our society. The most recent works in this series investigate barricade forms and include my proposed work for the Lorne Sculpture Biennale.

What’s next for you?
I was recently awarded a six-month residency in Switzerland for 2016. I am very excited at the opportunity to focus wholly on research and development of my work in the middle of Europe away from the familiarity of my home and workshop.

What is one of your top influencers?
Growing up in the Pilbara region of WA had a profound impact on me that continues to contribute to my art practice both consciously and subconsciously.

Where can people in Perth see your work?
Roundabout (Monument Series): Marine Parade, Cottesloe.
Barricade Monuments: Peppermint Grove Council Buildings.
Give Way (Monument Series): Anzac Park, Scarborough Beach Road in Mount Hawthorn.