Texts by Patterson Sims
Published by the Gwen Frostic School of Art, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo MI
The harsh realities of inner city African-American life and his immediate family have always been the underpinning of the sculptures, paintings, drawings, and prints of Willie Cole (b. 1955), as well as his less-known films, music, and writing. As enduringly local as Cole’s existence has been, his art has engaged in a continuous conversation with national identity and world culture. Using everyday consumer objects as means to examine race, history, and belief systems, Cole’s art shifts back and forth from the personal to the universal, from his African-American Baptist heritage to international, pan-spiritual perspectives.