Houghton College’s Ortlip Gallery is honored to host an exhibit and lecture by internationally renowned contemporary artist Willie Cole. This high profile exhibit will be displayed from August 24 until October 15, with a reception featuring special guests, artist Willie Cole and curator Paterson Sims, on Friday, September 12, at 7 p.m. in the center for the arts atrium and an artist lecture with Cole on Saturday, September 13 at 11:30 a.m. in the Center for the Fine Arts Recital Hall. Both events are free and open to the public.

Complex Conversations: Willie Cole Sculptures and Wall Works, is curated by Patterson Sims, president of the board of the Independent Curators International (ICI). This exhibition presents a survey of renowned American artist Willie Cole’s work that spans a 35 year period and surveys his drawings, paintings, sculpture and prints.

“Cole’s process creates an expansive dialog, exploring and transforming objects in a carefully crafted rhythm that prompts a shift in our perception”, commented Alicia Taylor, director of the Ortlip Gallery. “Pushing our sense of familiarity by converting household goods into symbols of culture, spirituality and politics, the work provides provocative and fresh entry points for connection”.

Cole is well known for using ordinary household objects such as irons, ironing boards, high-heeled shoes, hair dryers, bicycle parts, wooden matches, lawn jockeys, and discarded appliances or hardware to create imaginative and powerful works of art. He has also created sculptures using gas pumps, plastic bottles, chairs, and even guitars. Cole has been referred to as an “urban archaeologist,” exploring universal and cultural concepts through these materials.

Cole’s artwork can be found in many private collections around the world and over 50 museum collections, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C., the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto and the FRAC-Lorraine in Metz, France.

Cole was born in 1955 in New Jersey, where he still lives and works. He earned his bachelors of fine art at The School of Visual Arts in New York City in 1976 and creates much of his work by fusing influences of Pop Art and traditional African art.

Taylor also comments, “Immersive and experiential, this show encourages looking beyond the immediate, reflecting within ourselves and in conversation the artist and each other.”

Visitors may browse the gallery from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. For more information, visit http://www.houghton.edu/art/ortlip-gallery

The Ortlip Art Gallery is an all-purpose exhibition space in the Center for the Arts at Houghton College. The exhibit program of the Ortlip Gallery presents a diverse range of innovative works of art and educational programs, offering insights into the work of established and emerging regional, national and international artists and designers.

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