Willie Cole

b. 1955

Born in Somerville, New Jersey; lives in Mine Hill, New Jersey.

On his first visit to Tamarind in 2005, he drew on regional associations. "Where am I?" he asked. "I'm in the land of Georgia O'Keeffe. There are flowers in the air!" And he inventively constructed flower images from the patterns on the bottom of steam irons. 

In 2012, Willie Cole's third visit to Tamarind was to participate in the project, Afro: Black Identity in the United States and Brazil. Cole subverts his recurring symbols of servitude--irons and ironing boards--by the context in which he uses them. Irons appear again in his most recent images, taking the association one step further with the concept of 'heat.' 

The concept of Oneness, i.e. repeating one object obsessively as a building block to make any and many objects, has been the driving force in my sculpture practice for several years. In two-dimensional works, I employ this same concept through pattern making and repetition. The results are often a kind of visual double entendre that creates a 'now you see it, now you don’t' experience for the viewer. [My Tamarind lithograph] Rapture grows out of this obsession.

--Willie Cole (2008)