Michael Cook brings Indigenous Australia to the October Gallery in Broken Dreams

By Ben Miller | 02 November 2012
An image of a hyper-real painting of an Indigenous Australian woman in the river Thames
Broken Dreams #2 (2010). Inkjet print© Michael Cook, courtesy Andrew Baker Art Dealer
Exhibition Preview: Broken Dreams, October Gallery, London, until December 1 2012

Exotic and mysterious, our heroine in Broken Dreams has the gaze of an angel and the styled gloss of a Vogue or Vanity Fair cover.

In a series of ten arresting photo prints, this young Indigenous woman meets Europeans, dreams of visiting their world, is beset by disillusionment and ends up shackled by colonialism.

A photo of a hyper-real painting of an Indigenous Australian woman in a dress outdoors
Broken Dreams #1 (2010). Inkjet print© Michael Cook, courtesy Andrew Baker Art Dealer
But if the storyboard is sad, its dispirit is played out in a redacted colour palette on a scale enhancing the poetry of dreams. The artist, Michael Cook, understands his ethereal subject: an Indigenous native of Queensland, his debut solo exhibition domestically is a collaboration between the October Gallery and a Brisbane art dealer, accompanied by a photographic series, Australian Landscapes, Stickman, The Mission and Undiscovered, imagining a colonial past where Aborigines claim Australia.

Cook spent 25 years as a fashion photographer, has had his work collected by the National Gallery of Australia and has won numerous accolades, as well as selection for the 7th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art in Oz next month.

  • Open Tuesday-Saturday 12.30pm-5.30pm. Admission free. Follow the gallery on Twitter @octoberlondon.

More pictures:

A photo of a hyper-real painting of an Indigenous Australian woman in a sea with a bird
Broken Dreams #3 (2010). Inkjet print© Michael Cook, courtesy Andrew Baker Art Dealer
A photo of a hyper-real painting of an Indigenous Australian woman tied up by a rope
Broken Dreams #9 (2010). Inkjet print© Michael Cook, courtesy Andrew Baker Art Dealer
A photo of a hyper-real painting of an Indigenous Australian woman holding a telescope
Broken Dreams #7 (2010). Inkjet print© Michael Cook, courtesy Andrew Baker Art Dealer
An image of a hyper-real painting of an Indigenous Australian woman carrying two birds
Broken Dreams #5 (2010). Inkjet print© Michael Cook, courtesy Andrew Baker Art Dealer
An image of a hyper-real painting of an Indigenous Australian woman wearing a naval hat
Broken Dreams #4 (2010). Inkjet print© Michael Cook, courtesy Andrew Baker Art Dealer
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