Raised in Hervey Bay and currently residing on the Sunshine Coast, Michael Cook interrogates the legacy of colonisation by remixing, inverting and reconstructing icons of Australian identity.
Theatrically staged and highly polished, Cook’s photographic artworks tease out the fictitious possibilities of familiar narratives, combining the personal with the political and the historical with the imaginary.
Drawing on a recent gift to the Hervey Bay Regional Gallery Art Collection, works from Cook’s series Livin’ the Dream (2020) will be displayed alongside a new body or work, Fake (2022). Considered together, these works offer a timely reflection on the alienating absurdity of consumer desire and the “Australian dream”. As Michael explains, "When I consider our obsession with material wealth, I realise that maybe what we really want are the things that Aboriginal culture has always valued – community, family and giving back".
Image: Michael Cook, Livin’ the dream (BBQ), 2020, Inkjet print.