Cooper Cole is pleased to present a solo exhibition by Toronto-based artist Jesse Harris.

Prison took away her freedom, but not her dreams… In a triumph of art over adversity, a promising young dancer is sent away to prison where she realizes her dream of producing a performing arts show featuring her fellow inmates. This Women-in-Prison genre exploitation film suggests a problematic portrait of the artist in the lead role. The 1980s dance-crave-derived, direct-to-video market Musical Jailbird Rock is a product and result of the accelerated commercial fad economy. Not surprisingly, the project was conceived by the head of a movie distribution company with the two words and original title “Prison Dancer”. In this exhibition, Jailbird Rock is reframed as an artwork. Harris re-presents the movie for the consideration of marketings role in cultural production and identity. Jailbird Rock will be exhibited on period video monitors alongside original promotional materials and artwork from each stage of the movies dubious marketing. Amidst the popular celebration of 30 year anniversary editions, Jessie Harris provides a competing reflection with an assertion of incorrectness.


The exhibition will also include a selection of painting, sculpture and silkscreens that reflect the artists continued references to media studies, subliminal messages found in advertising, brand icons and Pop Art. These new works speak to the relationship between repetition and reproduction in an overcommunicated consumer culture.

“Without pain there is no art” – Jessie Harris in Jailbird Rock aka Prison Dancer aka Can’t Shake The Beat (1985)

Jesse Harris (b. 1981, Toronto, Canada) graduated with a BA (Honours) from the University of Guelph in 2007. Recent and forthcoming solo and group exhibitions include, Cooper Cole, Toronto, Canada; Tomorrow, Toronto, Canada; The Journal, Brooklyn, USA; Side Effects Gallery, Brooklyn, USA; Night Gallery, Los Angeles, USA; The Power Plant, Toronto, Canada; Plug in ICA, Winnipeg, Canada; amongst others. Harris lives and works in Toronto, Canada.

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