Donald Cole’s latest exhibition is a vibrant synthesis of a lifetime of cultural immersion, a collage of postcards from the past, exploring the motion and emotion of travel, the body and the passage of time. Opening First Thursday, May 5, 5-8pm, Motion/Emotion presents a triumphant series of new work, which began with the artist’s determination to take stock of his 45+ year career and destroy unsuccessful works. What resulted was a deep exploration of his experiences, reflection of a life dedicated to travel and painting, and a new series of cutting, collaging, and remixing paintings made since the late 1960s.
Large scale paintings capture the human body in motion, from abstract to figurative, with shapes and forms drawn from the movements of modern dance, capoeira, hip hop, and iconic photographs from history. The motion of the artist, as he travels from country to country, continent to continent, is implied in his ‘Postcard’ series of small works, as well as the repeated use of postcard size shapes, cut from discarded paintings from his 50+ years as a painter. Synthesized snippets of time and place can be determined from the collaged pieces of paintings, hinting at the global aesthetics drawn from of Cole’s experiences living and traveling through more than 30 countries around the world.
Rooted in Cole’s abstract expressionist practice, formed in Soho in the 70s and 80s where he lived and worked as a successful fine artist, the vibe of the time can be felt in his use of color, graffiti-esque strokes and implications of paint covered walls. Intermingled with the New Yorker’s aesthetic, the influence of non-Western cultures, histories and color palettes are seen through collaged elements from paintings created during periods of time living, teaching, and painting in countries throughout the world, including Japan, Israel, Vietnam, and India.
Donald Cole has exhibited work throughout the East and West coasts as well as internationally. He has exhibited in New York City at 55 Mercer, French & Co., the Nancy Hoffman Gallery and the Frank Marino Gallery. In the Pacific Northwest he has shown at galleries including Foster/White Gallery, ArtXchange Gallery and Gallery 070. He has participated in Tacoma Art Museum Biennials and his work is in a number of private and public collections including the Portland Art Museum, the Worcester Art Museum, and the ARCO Center for the Visual Arts, Los Angeles. Cole has received multiple honors and awards, including two grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. Cole also taught painting in the United States, Japan and Israel before settling in his current home on Vashon Island.