Michael Cook
1968 –
Lives QLD
Majority rule (parliament)     2014
Injet print on paper
Redland Art Gallery Collection. Acquired in 2014 with Redland Art Gallery Acquisition Funds.

Majority Rule is marked by its aesthetic departure from Michael Cook’s previous work. While thematic and conceptual connections with some of his earlier series are evident, the setting of this suite is in contrast to the Australian land-and beach-scapes of earlier images.

This is a depiction of the urbane within the urban. Colonial buildings, the style of solid sandstone architecture which may be seen in almost any city in the Western world, paved streets and a city skyline are the backdrop for a black man, dressed in a suit, carrying a briefcase like the archetypal businessman. His figure, in different attitudes, populates the footpath. He is multiplied (in some scenes up to twenty times), a pointer to the unreality of the scene.

The multiple versions of the subject populate generic city locations: a subway tunnel, an old-style bus, and city streets. Old Parliament House and Canberra’s High Court are more iconic buildings, and take Cook’s protagonist to the seat of Australian political power. As such, Cook’s imagery challenges our ingrained belief systems, yet these images do not offer judgement – they are observational, asking questions, setting up lively interactions within their scenes, without proffering neat nor prescriptive conclusions.

Extract from: Martin-Chew, Louise, Michael Cook: Majority Rule [ex. cat.], Andrew Baker Art Dealer, Brisbane, 2014.