Barbara Cole’s latest series Figure Painting extends, with
renewed subtlety, the artist’s long affair with her preferred
mediums: water and light and the figure. Like a painter, Cole
mixes and layers, blends and builds her compositions into
ethereal portraits rich with rhythm and dimension. Inspired by
the painting techniques cited in their names, these figures—Alla
Prima, Underpainting, and others—are like beautiful ghosts:
barely outlined by the dance of light across skin; so near the
surface and somehow just out of reach.
Figure transformation has been a predominant theme in my work. Over the past thirty years I have been operating as a painter but employing traditional photographic tools.
I rework this canvas with a toolkit that includes clouds, reflections, plastic sheeting, cloth-encased figures as well as aperture, shutter speed and artificial lighting.