Doug Cocker RSA

Over the last ten years Doug Cocker has found his own individual voice where he can, when appropriate, use his distinctive sculptural expression to address important contemporary social experience. Like the work of the best of his peers, such as Cragg and Woodrow, Cocker's sculpture is political in the broadest sense of the word. By that I mean that it is not escapist, esoteric or purely aesthetic, but aims to raise awareness of the underlying contradictions in late Twentieth century capitalist society. For example, in an earlier work of the mid-eighties Beneath the Screaming Eagle, the ultimate symbol of material status and security - the house, is enclosed from above by an encirling barrier that throwes a protective, but ominously imprisoning shadow on all below. In this very powerful piece, Cocker echoes the dire warnings of Noam Chomsky that we put our trust in false gods to secure us from our worst nightmares, only to find that they heighten our sense of insecurity and further imprison us in our increased fearful state. Many of these works also have a strong satirical edge to them. For example, the artist employs bathos to underline the vacuousness of much political rhetoric - where the visual and the verbal mock each other. This is most acutely observed in one of Cocker's major works, State of the Nation, where hollow chauvinism in underlined by the unstable rocking-horse base on which the classical temple of social order and national pride is precariously placed.