IN CONVERSATION WITH MICHAEL COOK ARTIST DINNER AT BARRIO, BYRON BAY

Byron Arts Magazine is excited to announce the launch of BAM Art Series Dinners. The first dinner hosted at BARRIO, Byron Bay on Wednesday, October 17 will feature works by artist Michael Cook. Cook is considered to be one of Australia’s most exciting contemporary indigenous artists.  

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A highlight of the evening will be a conversation hosted by art writer and author Louise Martin Chew, who will discuss the narrative behind Cook’s ethereal contemporary works.

Cook’s photographs restage colonial focused histories and re-image the contemporary reality of indigenous populations. His powerfully staged narratives have featured at both the Sydney and Venice Biennale. A selection of 15 works from the series Mother, Broken Dreams and Invasion will be displayed onsite at BARRIO. 


Guests will enjoy a Brookies gin cocktail on arrival and a delicious grazing table with matching wines curated by head chef Francisco Smoje.  The shared table menu includes pulled chicken, braised fennel & purple onion, herb roasted whole salmon side, rare roasted beef, gribiche sauce, potatoes, green beans, preserved lemons, chives & dill, brown rice, pecans, cranberries, feta & herbs and a delicious seasonal dessert.


The cost for the dinner and talk, including wines & Brookies gin cocktail is $140.

Artist BIO

Michael Cook is a Brisbane-based photomedia artist of Bidjara heritage. Cook’s photographs restage colonial-focused histories and re-image the contemporary reality of indigenous populations. Touching on the discriminatory nature of society, his images muddle racial and social roles ‘painting’ a picture of a societal structure reversed. Cook invites viewers to speculate Indigenous cultures living at the forefront, even a majority, rather than manipulated to live within the confines of a white man’s world. Cook’s images challenge our ingrained belief systems yet do not offer judgement – they are observational, asking questions without proffering neat prescriptive conclusions.


Considered to be one of Australia’s most exciting contemporary Indigenous artists, 2016 saw Cook present a solo exhibition at the global art fair, Art Basel Hong Kong. His work has most recently been curated into Indigenous Australia: enduring civilisation at the British Museum, London; Taba Naba, Oceanographic Musuem of Monaco; Saltwater Country at AAMU Museum of Contemporary Aboriginal Art, The Netherlands; and Personal Structures at Palazzo Mora, Venice during the 56th Venice Biennale. Cook’s photographs have also been exhibited in the 19th Biennale of Sydney: You Imagine What You Desire, 2014; the 2nd National Indigenous Triennial at the National Gallery of Australia, 2012; and the 7th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art at Queensland Art Gallery/ Gallery of Modern Art, 2013. A number of Cook’s works are currently being exihibited in a group show Colony – Frontier Wars at the NGV.


Cook’s work has been acquired by institutions including the National Gallery of Australia, Queensland Art Gallery/Gallery of Modern Art, National Gallery of Victoria, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art Gallery of Western Australia, National Museum of Australia and Parliament House, Canberra.

The Art Series Dinners are bought to you with the support of Byron Arts Magazine, McGrath & Brookies Gin and produced by www.theartconnector.com.au

For further information and hi res images contact lisa@theartconnector.com.au
or 0413 453320

 

Rosie's life lines reel in Olive Cotton people's choice prize

Michael Cook's close-up portrait Memories has been voted the public's favourite in the Olive Cotton Award People's Choice Award, with visitors describing it as a "profound" and "powerful" image.

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The well-known Sunshine Coast photographer was thrilled with the news and indicated he would be giving the $250 winner's prize to Rosie, the subject of his black and white portrait.

Visitors to the Tweed Regional Gallery & Margaret Olley Art Centre said the detailed portrait effectively captured Rosie's character by starkly depicting what a number of voters described as her "life lines".

Cook described Rosie as a beautiful person who kindly introduced him to bush tucker and is everyone's favourite grandmother in her community.

"I wanted to capture her beauty physically and within. I think the photograph allows the viewer to not only see a lifetime of memories but to actually feel who she is beyond appearance," he said.

The People's Choice Award, funded by the Friends of the Tweed Regional Gallery & Margaret Olley Art Centre Inc, helped wrap up this year's Olive Cotton Award for photographic portraiture.

Hundreds of visitors to the exhibition took the opportunity to vote for their favourite work from the 72 finalists, which were on display at the Tweed Regional Gallery until 8 October.

Voting was close, with the portrait Trevor Jamieson by Brett Canet-Gibson of WA just 30 votes behind.

The biennial competition reinforced its claim as Australia's top photographic portraiture prize by attracting record entries this year. Entrants ranged from many high-profile photographers to a strong field of emerging artists, including the Olive Cotton Award's youngest finalist, 12-year-old local Ari Messina.

The end of this year's exhibition also brought to a close a 'selfie' competition to promote the new social media pages for the Tweed Regional Gallery & Margaret Olley Art Centre.

Sherry Mackay won a Tweed Regional Gallery prize pack, featuring Margaret Olley merchandise, for snapping herself with her favourite portrait, featuring actor and comedian Bill Bailey.

Sarah K8 @cloudcatcher15 chose Anita Modok's portrait, in absentia: Judy Cassab's bedroom, for her selfie on Instagram and won a $100 food and drinks voucher from the Gallery Cafe. She said the colours, composition and texture are "absolutely divine".

"I could totally move in and make it my own room!!" she said.

2017 Olive Cotton Award Finalists on display

The 72 finalists in this year's Olive Cotton Award for photographic portraits, opening at Tweed Regional Gallery today, are a "snapshot of our times", according to Award Coordinator Anouk Beck.

James Brickwood,  British Comedian

James Brickwood, British Comedian

Ms Beck said the 2017 judge, Shaune Lakin, chose a shortlist of finalists that examined many contemporary issues and reflected the ideas, techniques and styles of the overall record pool of entries.

"Entrants have explored themes of masculinity, cultural diversity and immigration, transgender transformation, family and mortality," she said.

"The portraits range from theatrically-posed tableaux to moments advantageously snatched."

A total of 492 entries were received for the 2017 award, continuing a steady increase in submissions for the Gallery's biennial competition. All 72 finalists will be on exhibition at Tweed Regional Gallery until Sunday 8 October.

Twelve-year-old Tweed Shire resident Ari Messina is among the finalists, along with a number of well-known photographers including Michael Cook, Polixeni Papapetrou, Stephen Dupont, Anne Zahalka and Julie Rrap.

They are vying for a $20,000 prize for the overall winner, to be announced at the opening function and awards announcement on Saturday from 5pm.

Stephen DuPont,  Up in the Sky

Stephen DuPont, Up in the Sky

This year's Olive Cotton Award has again attracted a wide spectrum of photographic styles. Some have embraced an historic wet plate printing technique, while others challenge the whole concept of a portrait - at a time when technology is transforming photographic portraiture.

Dr Lakin, the National Gallery of Australia's Senior Curator Photography, said "we shared about 24 billion selfies in 2015, and who knows how many photographs of friends sitting opposite the dinner table or of children doing this or that are among the more than one trillion photographs we will take and share this year."

"All of this has had a huge impact, not just on the social practice of photographic portraiture but on its form. Think, for example, about the way that the digital selfie phenomenon has produced a new portrait pose, one that views the face from above and highlights forehead, raised eyebrow and pouty lips."

For further information, visit the Tweed Regional Gallery website or phone the Gallery on (02) 6670 2790.

Tweed Regional Gallery & Margaret Olley Art Centre is open Wednesday to Sunday, 10am to 5pm.
 

Local students work with acclaimed Indigenous photographer

A select group of local secondary school art students has enjoyed special insight into the creativity of award-winning Indigenous artist Michael Cook, during a Student Enrichment Day at Tweed Regional Gallery & Margaret Olley Art Centre recently.


Cook shared his knowledge and experiences with 19 enthusiastic students, selected from five high schools by their Visual Arts teachers. The students received a guided tour of the Gallery's current exhibition Resolution: new Indigenous photomedia, which is on loan from the National Gallery of Australia and includes artworks by 19 Indigenous artists, highlighting a variety of photographic and thematic approaches.


Cook then introduced his new exhibition, Mother, a powerful series of 13 photographs reflecting on the Stolen Generation and the personal story of the artist's adoption at birth.
 

Tweed Regional Gallery's Education & Audience Development Officer, Jodi Ferrari, said: "Michael jumped straight into the technicalities of his work - from concept development work to shooting multiple layers and piecing them together to create the sequence of images to his high standards.
It became very apparent to the students that Michael does not simply take photographs - he creates images. Cook often works on large-scale projects involving teams of people and he shared some amazing stories about how he has made things happen in his career. It was really inspiring for the students, opening their eyes to the possibilities of collaboration and simply asking for what they needed for their art making."


The workshop then got hands-on, as the students were set a task to plan a project from start to finish.


Year 10 Murwillumbah High School student Shahnti Leela said: "Michael Cook helped us understand his ideas behind making the photos. He explained how he came up with his ideas, and how he researched and made the images gave me a wider perspective on art and photography."
 

Year 12 Murwillumbah High School student Jordan Morris-Grant said: "The presentation and workshop were interesting and useful; both in relation to our HSC studies and my concept and art ideas for my HSC body of work."


Mother continues at Tweed Regional Gallery until 11 December 2016, with the generous support of Hong Kong art collectors Alan Conder and Alan Pigott.