Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - LIFESTYLE -

ROBERT Cook has had many ti­tles while work­ing at Art Gallery of WA (AGWA) for the past 16 years.

His cur­rent role as con­tem­po­rary de­sign and in­ter­na­tional art cu­ra­tor en­abled him to pro­pose the first of two ma­jor shows AGWA has ex­clu­sively cu­rated for WA au­di­ences in 2016.

Comic Trag­ics: the ex­plod­ing lan­guage of con­tem­po­rary comic art has more than 150 comic works by nine Aus­tralian and in­ter­na­tional artists pre­sented in var­i­ous stages, from rough sketches to fin­ished comic pages.

The artists fea­tured are Gabrielle Bell, Stephen Collins, Aisha Franz, An­ders Nilsen, Tommi Par­rish, John Por­cellino, Dash Shaw, Emma Talbot and Ron Rege Jr.

“The great thing is be­cause they’re all orig­i­nal pages, you’re get­ting all this beau­ti­ful ma­te­ri­al­ity you never see in a comic book,” Cook said.

“You can see the cor­rec­tion fluid and the prac­tice draw­ings on the side, you can see the rub outs and how they cut out bits of pa­per and re-stuck a head in.

“They op­er­ate as draw­ings and art­works in a way that’s re­ally un­ex­pected and en­gag­ing.

“There’s this great sense of in­ti­macy be­cause you can kind of feel the hand, arm and body of the maker hov­er­ing over them in a way that’s erad­i­cated from the comic book.”

Cook said the ex­hi­bi­tion grew from his in­ter­est in the field for decades and his de­sire to see how comic orig­i­nals stacked up against any kind of con­tem­po­rary art.

“It was fun re­al­is­ing we could do that stuff here and show work that maybe hasn’t been thought of in this con­text,” he said.

“It came out of the im­pulse that I love it and thought ev­ery­one else would too, and it’s su­per-ac­ces­si­ble.

“We’ve brought some work by some in­cred­i­ble artists.

“I’ve been in the gallery space and seen Perth kids look­ing at the stuff and you know they wouldn’t have en­coun­tered it else­where and it’s maybe com­ing out of left field for them.

“I know when I was a kid com­ing to the gallery and see­ing amaz­ing things from around the world, it made my in­ter­est in the field.”

Tanya MacNaughton

Pic­ture: Will Rus­sell­mu­ni­ d452944

Comic book hero: WA Art Gallery cu­ra­tor Robert Cook is putting on a show of comic book art.

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