Only one more week! Have you met Kevin Cole yet?

Have you ever had a colleague that you thought was an incredible professional?  Have you had some friends that you think are really marvelous human beings (I certainly hope so)?

It is a privileged to meet folks that fit into both of those categories. There are some wonderful artists and artist-educators that I have gotten to know over the years. Some I met simply because of their absolutely amazing art work. Others I worked with or met at conferences and professional gatherings. The ones who have proven to be human beings of rare decency and kindness are the best though. And I have been lucky to call a few of them friends.

One of the reasons for this recent trip to Atlanta, was to see one such artist, colleague, and friend … Kevin Cole. Kevin and I met for the first time about six years ago. Since Kevin and I both have serious Atlanta connections … and we already had several mutual artist friends around the country, you would have thought we should have met long before then. Somehow, family and work stuff had just kept our paths from crossing earlier.

Anyway, on our rather impromptu trip to Atlanta, we were able to catch up with Kevin and finally meet his lovely wife and daughter. They graciously showed us around their beautiful place. It is full of art from fellow artists. It was especially nice to see work by artists that we both know … and some I only know of.

A real treat for me as a fellow artist was having Kevin show me around his studios. Like me, Kevin has converted a basement and a garage into workspace. I must admit his studio is a wee bit larger and is a more finished than mine. (No envy, we are all working at getting it right!)

I really like his work. Kevin has done traditional painting, drawing, and murals; he has worked in collage/assemblage with paper and with printmaking. Now Kevin is usually working in sculptural modes; most of his current work is done in painted metal.  The work is exciting on several levels.  On one hand the forms are sinuous and seductive … some of the relief pieces undulate as though they are trying to free themselves from the supporting wall/surface. Other seem to want to really become completely of the wall. And the color, sometime it is a joyful and riotous affair. But every time I slow down and really look at his use of  color, I begin to see networks of relationships, repetitions, and subtle harmonies within the boldness.

Dorothy Gillespie, 1999

There are two artists whose work I think of when I look at Kevin’s painted sculptures. One is Sam Gilliam who made paintings that he presented as three dimensional objects. (I believe Kevin knew Sam pretty well.)

The other artist, Dorothy Gillespie, I ran across in Raleigh, NC … during the 1980s and 90s. She constructed her assembled sculptures with multiple, long, and sinuously curving planes of aluminum. She paint them with joyous and celebratory color. Kevin’s work does not look derivative of these artists … they just explore some related visual territory.

Over the years, Kevin and his work have become a major part of the cultural scene in Atlanta. His work is prominently on display around the city. Currently this includes a show … Kevin Cole: Straight From The Soul, 25 Years In The Making, which is taking place at two venues:  MOCA GA from May 18 – July 28 and Southwest Arts Center (Southwest) from May 19 – July 28. The exhibition, was curated by Dr. Julie McGee.  (PS: There is a book to go with the exhibition too!)

So, if you can … swing by and see his work in Atlanta. Sure, you can see it online to but why not the real deal?. And if you ever get a chance to meet Kevin: you’ll see what I mean about him being such a descent fellow.

PS: If you are in the area, I also recommend you getting to the Sandler Hudson  Gallery which represents Kevin’s work.


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One Response to “Only one more week! Have you met Kevin Cole yet?”

  1. jean sampson Says:

    I love this artist—-color, you know! 🙂 I think your head must be ready to burst now and your eyes must be bulging out! I think you got the most you possibly could have gotten, from that trip to Atlanta! Thanks, John!

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