Willie Cole-Scorching For the Sake Of Art

Garden (Ozone Summer series). 1991-scorch marks on canvas-94 x 48 in.

Last year the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City featured Pattern ID. Visually, the exhibition was incredible with a group of artists that spanned the world.  For me, Willie Cole was the favorite.

Willie Cole is best known for assembling and transforming 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 influential works of art and installations.

I have read that as a young man he was fascinated and collected old irons.  Irons show up repeatedly in his work.

An audio podcast of an interview with Willie Cole and “Pattern ID” curator Ellen Rudolph discusses the relationship of pattern to society and its manifestation in art.

Willie Cole  (American, born 1955)
Sunflower, 1994
Willie Cole
Willie Cole
Scorched canvas and lacquer on padded wood
Tampa Museum of Art. Museum
Willie Cole
Pressed Iron Blossom No. 3,
2005 (05-314)
5-color lithograph
35 7/8 x 47 3/4 inches
Collaborating printer: Bill Lagattuta
Edition 22


2 thoughts on “Willie Cole-Scorching For the Sake Of Art

  1. The first image, Garden (Ozone), which was in the Pattern ID show looks like shibori or batik from a distance. Not familiar with his work, it was a treat to walk closer and realize what he actually used for his mark-making!


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