There is a certain sense of satisfaction about this small exhibition. It becomes evident when we realize what at first appears to be simple sculptures are in fact complex compositions held together by the ideal use of line, shape and colour. By reducing his work to its basic components, Cole allows the viewer to get beyond extraneous clutter and respond to the primary concepts that provide the basis for all forms of good art.
Employing a black square rod to draw lines in space, three colours (strong yellow, soft blue, rich orange) with white, and geometric shapes, the artist is able to construct sculptural works in painted and patinated brass that draw on certain principles of art as well as our own imagination. So the window frame and flat rectangular shapes of Primary Structure - Studio not only offers an intriguing composition, it brings to mind an airy space strewn with primed canvases. Well, that's my interpretation but it could suggest something different to other viewers, or a completely new concept to me at another viewing.
Also intriguing and well appreciated is how each structure maintains a unity of design as a whole while we go on to investigate its parts. For example in Primary Structure With White Cone, close inspection reveals there is a subtle difference of tone in the orange shapes that is exacerbated by placing one close to yellow and the other in proximity to blue. We are reminded of Malevich's comments on how forms in art have life, just like forms in nature.
Cole's attention to forms, along with colour and line are more easily identified in his pastel drawings. They also provide a visual testament to the artist's thought processes, as these preliminary compositions differ slightly from the finished sculptures. As such, they are more then just a record of an idea that came before the object, they have a strength and quality that define them as finished works of art in their own right. Cole's excellent use of design principles, often taken for granted in 3D work, is obvious in these drawings. Balance not only prevents a sculpture from falling over, it holds up all good works of art.
Although consisting of only ten works, this is a highly satisfying and challenging exhibition, one that should to be viewed by all art students. And when you do attend, try to go beyond just 'looking' at the exhibits to 'seeing' the art.
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