Split personality

Michael COOPER: artist

Not On Display

About the work

The American artist Michael Cooper constructed this work while an Artist-in-Residence at the Art Gallery of Western Australia in 1982. Drawing from sources as diverse as American West Coast hot rod culture, ship modelling and vernacular woodcraft traditions, Cooper's work is a tour deforce of craftsmanship and illusion. In a commentary on violence, the central body shape of the motorcycle is formed as a gun, rendered powerless through being constructed in wood, while the cycle itself is reduced to a model-like scale. He thus interchanges images of home-based and community-based traditions of woodcraft and toys. Cooper used innovative technology for moulding laminated veneers of Western Australian jarrah to construct the curvilinear elements of the work and wood-turning techniques for its hundreds of other elements. The surreal, boat-shaped sidecar was influenced by the traditional shipbuilding environment of Fremantle, the location of Cooper's influential three-month residency in Western Australia.
Split personality
Artist/Maker and role
Michael COOPER: artist
wood (jarrah and Queensland silver ash)
57.0 x 187.0 x 126.0 cm
Credit line
Purchased with funds presented by Bunnings Ltd, 1982
The State Art Collection, The Art Gallery of Western Australia
Accession number

This is one of the sculptures in our collection.