It's Primary by Liz Cole

Arts & Culture

Pictured: Forest Paths by Liz Cole, Acrylic and Handmade Collage Paper 30 x 30. Photo provided by the artist.

“The one thing I pride myself in is that every piece I create has a little part of myself in it, whether it's a place I’ve been, something I’ve experienced or just a certain feeling I’ve had. I refer to them as memory shards because they’re not like photographs where I’m trying to replicate a moment that I saw something, but rather just a little blip that went through my mind in a certain way,” says Liz Cole. “I try to put those little elements into each one of my pieces so that they really become a narrative.”

Cole is speaking about the 22 works of hers in her show It’s Primary, now on view at the Unitarian Universalists of Sarasota’s Lexow Art Gallery. Cole, a Sarasota-based artist with an extensive background in both the arts and education–she retired as Associate Dean for the College of Arts and Sciences at Bowling Green State University in 2005–has been creating her own work for as long as she can remember. Cole is a colorist and collagist who employs big, bright colors and expertly layered pieces of collage paper to create pieces that look more like paintings than traditional collages. The pieces found in It’s Primary are emblematic of the type of artist that she is–Cole looks for the beauty, whimsy and jovial in everyday life, transforming scenes of still-life flowers and bucolic landscapes into magical designs. Bright, colorful and buoyant, Cole’s works look almost as if Cubism-era Picasso illustrated a children’s book, in the most complimentary of ways.

Cole creates these paintings from her home studio, where she’s perfected the art of the collage. “The collage part of it really is very integral, oftentimes when colleges are created it’s pieces of paper that are glued onto a canvas to make a textured pattern, but I try to as I say, use it and lose it. I create my own collage paper, using deli paper and it takes me anywhere from three to four hours to do 12 sheets that are really layered with color,” says Cole. “What I do with the paintings themselves is that oftentimes I will replicate the technique I might’ve used on the collage paper so you can’t tell the difference between each layer. I try to play back and forth so it doesn’t look like I’ve just pasted the papers together. It’s knitted together like a color quilt.”

On Exhibit through June 13, 3975 Fruitville Road, Sarasota, 941-371-4974. Liz Cole is also represented in Define Art Gallery and Studio: definegallery.com/artists.

Pictured: Forest Paths by Liz Cole, Acrylic and Handmade Collage Paper 30 x 30. Photo provided by the artist.

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