Hear no… See no… Speak no…

Art Life , Exhibitions May 17, 2013 No Comments

From Sharne Wolff

The Queensland Centre for Photography is currently on a mission to bring Queensland photomedia artists to the attention of new audiences. As part of the QCP program, selected works from four series by artist Michael Cook are currently on exhibition at Depot Gallery. Cook only held his first solo show in 2010 and is generally described as ‘emerging’ although the Through My Eyes, Undiscovered, Civilised and Broken Dreams suites each illustrate accomplished post-colonial themes and narratives.

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In Undiscovered, the ironically named artist has centred his project on the discovery and settlement of Australia by Great Britain. Using inkjet print on paper an Aboriginal man is pictured on the ocean shore in various orchestrated situations involving sailing ships, Australian native animals and the Union Jack as props, while in Broken Dreams a stunning Aboriginal woman is the protagonist. Both imaginary sequences are suggestive of the discord between notions of ‘civilised’ and ‘uncivilised’ and revisit the claims of terra nullius most famously resisted by Eddie Mabo. Civilised, the most recent, returns to the seashore with Cook’s models this time engaged in speculation on which of the four colonial powers might have just as easily have become the eventual rulers of this country. In addition to their enigmatic qualities it’s the seductive beauty of Cook’s images that results in their subtle, but powerful, claim.

Until May 25.
The Depot Gallery, Waterloo.
Pic: Michael Cook, Civilised #13, 2012. Inkjet print on canvas. Courtesy the artist and Andrew Baker Art Dealer, Brisbane.

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Sharne Wolff

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