Metal sculpture at Robert Cole Studios


“Scrape Grind Shape” over at Robert Cole Studios features casts by Robert Cole, direct metal sculpture and wall pieces by Scot McKenzie, and oil and acrylic works by Bill Jonas. It’s open now by appointment through July 27. More info at studiocole.com.

I learned that this is the first showing of Robert Cole’s work since he passed away in October. Some of his monumental sculptures, for which he’s known, are out front, like these two below (“Father Time” and “Mind as Body”):

Father Time metal sculpture

“Father Time — Robert Cole”

Mind as Body metal sculpture

“Mind as Body” — Robert Cole

For photos better than these, go to studiocole.wordpress.com.

The exhibition inside features Cole’s much smaller casts, figures mostly, that are fluid, organic, and soft somehow — in spite the medium. Cole’s wife, Susan, told me that Robert had done castings commercially early in his career, so this later work was perhaps more a return to something familiar than a completely new foray. My pictures of these pieces aren’t great, so I’ll direct you here for images of some of the pieces that were present, plus many others.

The other sculptor featured in the show, Scot McKenzie, was an apprentice of Cole’s. His wall pieces are a mix of mild steel, stainless, and bronze that created landscapes almost, some more abstract than others, with certain trees and suggested horizons, sunsets, and wispy clouds. Here are a few:

Scot McKenzie metal sculpture

Scot McKenzie

Scot McKenzie metal sculpture

Scot McKenzie

Scot McKenzie metal sculpture

Scot McKenzie

Scot’s work sets up up tension between the sheen of bare stainless and surfaces patinated by rusting or chemical browning and bluing. They remind me of some of my own work, though his are less purely geometric and more evocative of nature (and show the skill of someone with more experience).

Scot was there and explained some of his processes to me, the most memorable being his suggestion to “use the force” while cutting metal with the torch. Sometimes it’s easier when you don’t look, he said. Whether he’s looking or not, I don’t know, but the results look good. Me: I may keep my eyes on the kerf.

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