Schneider Museum of Art
Willie Cole: Transformations and Illuminations
The Traveler and the Housewife: Deluxe Edition
Willie Cole: Transformations and Illuminations includes the installation, From Water to Light which features Willie Cole’s newest artistic obsession: water bottles. With this material he redefines recycling as reincarnation, repurposing over 10,000 recycled water bottles to create chandeliers and rooms filled with a spiritual aura. According to Cole, “From Water to Light pays homage to the natural feminine forces of water, light, and air, and to the earth itself.” The installation consists of 10,000 recycled P.E.T. water bottles configured into two chandeliers, each six feet in diameter and seven feet long, that hang in a large room.
Rather than ‘recycling’, Cole uses the term ‘upcycling’ to describe his transformation of ordinary domestic and used objects such as irons, ironing boards, high-heeled shoes, hair dryers, bicycle parts, wooden matches, lawn jockeys, and other discarded appliances and hardware, into imaginative and powerful works of art and installations. Through the repetitive use of single objects in multiples, Cole’s assembled sculptures acquire a renewed metaphorical meaning, or become a critique of our consumer culture. Cole’s ‘upcycled’ assemblages challenge viewers to see beyond an object’s function.
Willie Cole, a New Jersey native, rose to prominence in 1989, and since then his work has been the subject of several one-person museum exhibitions including: Miami Art Museum (2001), Bronx Museum of the Arts (2001) and the Museum of Modern Art, New York (1998). Cole was one of the featured artists in Reconfiguring an African Icon: Odes to the Mask by Modern and Contemporary Artists from Three Continents, which opened in March 2011 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. A catalogue of his work, Anxious Objects: Willie Cole’s Favorite Brands, was written by Patterson Sims and published by Rutgers University Press.
Showing in the Museum's entry Gallery will be The Traveler and the Housewife: Deluxe Edition, an exhibition of drawings and vessels created by Daniel Duford during his Spring 2013 artist residency at SOU's Center for the Visual Arts. This exhibition and residency was generously funded by The Ford Family Foundation, Roseburg, OR.
The Traveler and the Housewife: Deluxe Edition is a fifteen-page large-scale woodcut comic that, according to Duford, “is part meditation of separation and change and part metaphor for the Columbian Exchange—the mingling of culture, flora and fauna between the Old and New Worlds.” The comic portrays a story about two separated lovers in which, says Duford, “one goes abroad spreading death and returns altered. The other remains rooted digging deep into the mythic soil of her home.” Duford states that “the diaristic text belies the mythic imagery.”
Daniel Duford is an Instructor in the Intermedia, Illustration and Sculpture Departments at Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland, OR. Duford's sculptures and drawings have been exhibited in galleries throughout the United States. His illustration and comic work has appeared in numerous magazines and independent publications. He has self-published graphic novels and posts an on-going anthology on Radio Relay Towers.
Augmenting the Cole and Duford exhibitions will be a continual screening of short videos in the Treehaven Gallery. Black Manifold is a series of contemporary video pieces that “delve into how Black operates as sociopolitical force, a slate that can mark a beginning as well as an end, while also engaging with the tactility of film and the theatricality of cinema.” Curated by Avantika Bawa and Greg Minissale, Black Manifold features the work of artists Mike Bray, Jodie Cavalier, Chelsea Knight, Brandon Neubauer, Jennifer Lauren Smith, and two-time Whitney Biennial artist, Kevin Jerome Everson. According to the curators, “Black is social and silent, human and inhuman. It rests the eye, turning it upon itself in introspection, plunging the soul into loneliness, yet provides the continuum for hidden touches, chiasms and communications. It provides us with the space to breathe, and beckons us to leap into its freedom with reckless abandon. It makes us think differently. It dissolves subjectivity, yet brings it back. The works presented here ask, ‘What is this thing called black, and how can we turn it into productive thought and practice?’”
Willie Cole: Transformations and Illuminations, The Traveler and the Housewife: Deluxe Edition, work by Daniel Duford, and Black Manifold, a program of short videos curated by Avantika Bawa and Greg Minissale will be on view at the Schneider Museum through Saturday, December 7 during the Museum’s regular hours of 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM, Mondays through Saturdays.
Images Top to Bottom:
Willie Cole, From Water to Light, 2012 Recycled 16 OZ. P.E.T. Bottles
Willie Cole, From Water to Light, 2012 Recycled 16 OZ. P.E.T. Bottles, second view
Daniel Duford, When I Return, 2013, woodblock print
Film Still from American Motor Company, Kevin Jerome Everson, 2010, 12:00, 16mm, b/w, sound.
Courtesy the artist; Trilobite-Arts-D.A.C. and Picture Palace Pictures
Willie Cole, Shoonufu Female Figure, 2013, bronze, 25 x 9 ½ x 13 in, edition of 7, no. 1