Carol Cole: Cast a Clear Light

  • Mar 3, 2018 – Jun 17, 2018
  • The Gregory D. Ivy Gallery, The Weatherspoon Guild Gallery
Carol Cole, "Circles in Mass" from the series "The Glass Menagerie for
Tennessee Williams", 1977. Colored pencil on paper, 29 x 23 in. Courtesy
of the artist.

Art has been my means of survival. 

Carol Cole states this belief with conviction and demonstrates it with passion. For the past forty years, she has been creating and collecting work that affirms our human need for nurture, our shared vulnerabilities, and our potential for living generously. She calls this art humanist, and finds in it important antidotes to the universal ills of greed, neglect, and selfishness.

As an artist, Cole’s work is anchored in feminism, and she has developed a body of work that uses a single female breast as an icon of nurture. In multiple media, she morphs and transforms that icon from recognizable to abstract and back again. Each iteration employs the motif inventively to create images by turns poignant, witty, and irreverent.

In addition to making art, Cole is an avid collector, thoughtfully acquiring work by both nationally and internationally established artists and notable southern regionalists. Linking them is a shared attention to vulnerability; as in her own work, the motif of the breast is often present, but not definitive. Rather, a fearless commitment to addressing the human condition unites the range of artwork that she lives with in her home.

A native of the Deep South, Cole relishes the region’s artistic traditions. She is also, however, enmeshed in the New York art world. Rather than see the two as distinct, she weds them together, inviting her New York colleagues to North Carolina and championing the South’s artists and museums there. At the core of this connecting is Cole’s belief that one needs to share one's joys and struggles, talents and resources, knowledge and curiosity.

In all that she does, Cole lives out playwright Tennessee Williams’s admonition: “Let us not deny all the dark things of the human heart, but let us try to cast a clear light on them in our work.”

Carol Cole: Cast a Clear Light is organized by the Weatherspoon Art Museum and co-curated by Dr. Emily Stamey, Weatherspoon Curator of Exhibitions, and Paddy Johnson, Editor of Art F City, New York.

The exhibition is dedicated by the artist to her husband, Seymour Levin.

We have six galleries located on the first and second levels of the museum, view our gallery map.