The Beauties: Print Series by Willie Cole is on view August 17 through December 4, 2016, in the Joel and Lila Harnett Museum of Art, Modlin Center Booth Lobby. Contemporary artist Willie Cole (American, born 1955), is known for using domestic objects, such as shoes, steam irons, and now ironing boards, as content in his work. His newest series is The Beauties, which features prints created by flattening ironing boards to become printing plates, inking them as the matrix of the image, and printing them using the intaglio method, running each “board” through an etching press. The works in the exhibition are selected from his series of twenty-seven prints, each labeled at the bottom in letterpress with a female name that hints at an earlier time. For the artist, the names are a metaphorical link to his African American lineage, from slaves to domestic servants, connoting his ancestors and giving the ironing boards a compelling narrative.
This series continues his exploration of the cultural and aesthetic associations embedded in images using common, everyday objects. As arts writer Mary Abbe wrote, “Cole’s genius is in conveying the spiritual potential of the most ordinary domestic objects, finding beauty in the mundane, and honoring these otherwise forgotten individuals and their histories.”
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website.