Cautionary Note

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Image: Michael Doolan, the artist behind Cautionary Note ahead of it’s first viewing at this year’s Glow Winter Arts Festival in June 2022.

By Michael Doolan

View this stunning outdoor installation after dark at Central Park from 06:00 PM - 10:00 PM on Thursday 16 June 2022 to Sunday 19 June 2022

Cautionary Note comes alive in an accumulation of contradictions… prompting the viewer to ask; is the protagonist mourning the sudden loss of a woodland companion or lamenting its failed attempt to fly? Is the bird simply another indication of our environmental concerns, or is it about to magically assume a new and unexpected identity? 

This scene and its highly charged colouration present an overwhelming feeling of "now". Its immediacy is like the single cell from a stop-action movie suddenly arrested at its key junction or a fairy tale illustration that sets the keynote for what is about to unfold. 

However, Cautionary Note's narrative remains intact. It invokes its own fiction as it immerses its viewers in an abundance of outcomes.
Can the viewer bring this scenario to its rightful conclusion?

Lying in the hands of its rescuer, the little bird has lost its ability to communicate.
Its sweet, lyrical tune has fallen silent.Its eyes are closed, but does it no longer draw breath? 
The bird’s rescuer pleads despondently to the small woodland creature to take flight… 
“Please take flight little bird,” 
“Please fly again.” 
Then amongst the silence the beautiful little bird suddenly changes colour; 
as if reborn, it flaps its wings and its once absent lyrical tune magically returns. 
Has the little bird been granted new life? 
“Kywitt! Kywitt!”


About the Artist

Michael Doolan lives in Melbourne and works in Sydney, where he is a Senior Lecturer at Sydney College of the Arts at the University of Sydney.

Michael has held various solo exhibitions throughout Australia and has participated in numerous curated group exhibitions both nationally and internationally. His work has been well documented and reviewed widely, both internationally and nationally, in a variety of media and renowned publications.


Artist statement

My sculptural practice is primarily concerned with the images and stories of childhood. I am interested in ways in which the material and form of these memories can be manipulated to generate meta narratives that interrogate cultural understandings of the immediate experience of “social life”, that which takes place not only outside the confines of the home, but also from within the walls of the domestic setting.

Instagram | Michael Doolan