Chicago

Willie Cole

Peter Miller Gallery

Willie Cole forages through detritus in the form of abandoned household appliances and recombines their parts into totems with unexpected anthropomorphic power. His is an art of recognition, rehabilitation, and revelation; implied in his recastings is a commentary on the ineluctible presence of the human image in virtually everything made by man, including, ironically, the remnants of throw-away culture. Cole looks at a telephone and sees an intriguing sign for the human face, looks at junked blowdryers and imagines an evocative mask; he stacks and reassembles irons and their cords into animated figural sculptures. The original aura and symbolic charge of his source materials are as crucial for Cole as the object resulting from their amendation. Discovering new meanings in seemingly exhausted utilitarian sources, Cole’s art constitutes both a form of cultural critique and a kind of spiritual

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