Terra Firma: Paintings by Max Cole

Terra Firma: Paintings by Max Cole

Thursday, January 6, 2011Saturday, February 12, 2011


San Francisco, CA USA

SAN FRANCISCO - Haines Gallery is pleased to announce its eighth exhibition for New York artist Max Cole. Having refined her practice over a period of four decades, Cole has earned a reputation as a premier practitioner of reductive painting with a consistently and highly recognizable aesthetic. Employing a subtle palette of black, white, and shades of grey, this new body of work includes a selection of gem-like small-scale pieces as yet unseen here in San Francisco.

From a distance, Cole’s works appear to be composed of simple bands of color. But upon closer inspection, these horizontal bands reveal intricate patterns of short, vertical hatch marks consisting of alternating colors. What at first appears devoid of the human hand reveals itself as an accumulation of subtle imperfections. The stripes seem to vibrate, at one moment alluding to foggy horizons or waving fields of grain, and in the next falling flat on the canvas’s surface. This allusion to landscape is befitting of an artist who was raised on the plains. Horizontal, unpopulated landscapes are as much a part of her visual lexicon as is Native American thought (Cole maintained a close relationship with her paternal Grandfather, who was half-Cherokee), and indeed, her works evolve from the ideal of harmony with nature, which is at the heart of that culture.

Cole’s work has been described as obsessive, but she prefers the term passionate, as it is self-determination rather than compulsion that urges her towards creation and completion. Cole does not rely on a preconceived plan; the work unfolds through time and rigorous process.

Born in Kansas in 1937, Cole began exhibiting her work in the early 1960s. Her work is contained in such collections as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, California; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Panza di Biumo Collection, Varese, Italy; and the Museums of Moderner Kunst in Otterndorf, Wuppertal, Ingolstadt, Cologne, and Munich, Germany. Cole has also received several prestigious grants and fellowships from the Pollock/Krasner Foundation and The National Endowment for the Arts, among other institutions. In 2005, Cole was an Artist in Residence at the Albers Foundation in Bethany, Connecticut and was a participant in the historic Artist’s Meeting with the Pope , Vatican in 2009. She lives and works in upstate New York.

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