In the artworks, people are often depicted as being fused with the surrounding architecture, or buried under layers of clay or concrete, from which they absurdly struggle to extricate themselves. The space in which he installs the artwork is where it take shape, often responding to the layout of a gallery or an external context such as the facade of a building, or through replacing manhole covers in the street. The artworks have a surreal, uncanny sensibility, creating an incongruent sensation in otherwise mundane situations.
Cobbing studied BA Sculpture at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design from 1994-97, after which he lived in Holland between 1998-2002, having been awarded a place on the Fine Art Masters program at De Ateliers in Amsterdam. Cobbing has since undertaken a PHD Fine Art by Practice at Middlesex University, to be completed in 2010. He is an Associate Lecturer at Central Saint Martins College of Art of Design, and Senior Lecturer on BA Sculpture at Wimbledon College of Art, London.
Since 2000 he has exhibited internationally, in group shows including 'Body-Con' at Arts Initiative Tokyo (2004), 'A Secret History of Clay' Tate Liverpool (2004), 'Room with a View' Gemeente Museum, The Hague (2006), 'Drifting Clouds' Furini Arte Contemporanea, Italy (2007), and solo exhibitions at Galerie Fons Welters, Amsterdam (2002) and Netwerk Centre for Contemporary Art, Belgium (2007).
He was awarded the ACE Helen Chadwick Fellowship in 2005/6 at Ruskin School and British School at Rome. The resulting works were exhibited in 2007/8 as 'Gradiva Project' at the Freud Museum and Camden Arts Centre, London, with the embossed manhole covers produced for these venues remaining as permanent public artworks. Cobbing's work has been reviewed and featured in publications including Frieze, The Guardian, Blueprint, The Art Newspaper, Time Out, and several international magazines including Metropolis M. The 'Gradiva Project' book was shortlisted for the Art Book of the year award 2008.
Most recently, Cobbing exhibited in The Hasselt Triennial, Belgium, alongside Aernout Mik and Thomas Gr?nfeld. The artworks produced during the Berwick Gymnasium Fellowship were exhibited in a solo exhibition in the Gymnasium Gallery in summer 2009. In May 2009, Cobbing also had a residency at Turquoise Mountain Foundation in Kabul, where he made a series of photographic works during a trip to the Buddha niches in Bamiyan Valley. In 2010 Cobbing will have a solo exhibition 'Reversals' at Furini Arte Contemporanea, Rome, and will be in group exhibitions including 'Post Fossil' at 21_21 Design Sight, Tokyo, 'Wake' at Dilston Grove, and a Paul Burwell exhibition at Matt's Gallery, London.