Reagan Charles Cook is a Canadian artist and designer based in Los Angeles. Born in Kitchener, Ontario - he holds degrees from the University of Waterloo and University of Southern California.
Spanning a diverse range of mediums and styles, his work has been displayed in galleries, museums and magazines across North America most notably: The Drawing Room, Light and Space Contemporary, Artinformal, Parkett Magazine, and the Museum of Canadian Contemporary Art.
In addition to his career as a contemporary artist, Cook has contributed designs and creative concepts for professional companies in Toronto, Los Angeles, and San Francisco - ranging from small tech firms to Fortune 500 brands.
In addition to providing a structural influence, the mirror also serves as a foundation for understanding the core theme of the work, which is the challenge of affirming a self-defined identity.
While there are no actual mirrors in the drawing, the numerous references to costumes, coverings and make-up, keep questions of physical projection top of mind. Peeling skin and half-baked disguises point to the transience of physical identity, and the challenging dynamics involved in ‘seeing’ and ‘being seen’.
By wearing a costume, the characters depicted in the collage validate the mechanisms of external confirmation that makes the costumes necessary. In this way, the presence of a mask reflects the importance of the mirror. The content of the drawing works to communicate this concept on a literal and figurative level, weaving together references to physical reflection with more broad allusions to reflected social identity.
In an online society that constantly communicates the importance of a personalized visual strategy, the line between individual art and advertising has become increasingly unintelligible.
Looking at Disney’s animated version of Snow White - a work which is referenced and throughout the collage - the physical mirror in the story serves as an effective device for communicating the risks of relying on external confirmation to determine a sense of self-worth. However on a higher level, the entire film can also be seen as a mirror, reflecting the realities of the society in which it was made.
Just like the mirror on the wall, the social mirror reflected in popular media like Snow White holds incredible power to shape a viewer’s sense of identity. In the same way that a physical mirror can constrain the viewer’s ability to feel young or attractive, the freedom to define a deeper psychological identity as normal and wanted is challenged by the reflected realities within popular social narratives.
The content and symbols within ‘Magic Mirror’ aim to highlight the tensions between the internal and external sense of self, exploring not only the confines of physicality, but also similar questions of identity related to gender, age, race and sexuality.