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photograph by Taylor Dabney
Willie Cole (American, born 1955), 4 prints from series The Beauties, 2012, intaglio with relief printing on rives BFK paper, sheet 63 ½ x 22 ½ inches, Joel and Lila Harnett Print Study Center, University of Richmond Museums, Museum purchase with funds from the Louis S. Booth Arts Fund, H2016.05.01-04 © Willie Cole
Aug 17, 2016
throughDec 04, 2016

The Beauties: Print Series by Willie Cole

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The Beauties: Print Series by Willie Cole is on view August 17 through December 4, 2016, in the Joel and Lila Harnett Museum of Art, Modlin Center Booth Lobby. Contemporary artist Willie Cole (American, born 1955), is known for using domestic objects, such as shoes, steam irons, and now ironing boards, as content in his work. His newest series is The Beauties, which features prints created by flattening ironing boards to become printing plates, inking them as the matrix of the image, and printing them using the intaglio method, running each “board” through an etching press. The works in the exhibition are selected from his series of twenty-seven prints, each labeled at the bottom in letterpress with a female name that hints at an earlier time. For the artist, the names are a metaphorical link to his African American lineage, from slaves to domestic servants, connoting his ancestors and giving the ironing boards a compelling narrative.

This series continues his exploration of the cultural and aesthetic associations embedded in images using common, everyday objects. As arts writer Mary Abbe wrote, “Cole’s genius is in conveying the spiritual potential of the most ordinary domestic objects, finding beauty in the mundane, and honoring these otherwise forgotten individuals and their histories.”

Organized by the University of Richmond Museums and curated by Richard Waller, Executive Director, University Museums, the exhibition is made possible in part with funds from the Louis S. Booth Arts Fund.

The Beauties: Print Series by Willie Cole