COLE, Peter, 1946
Artist Biography

The birdman - flight of fancy, 2001
wood, aluminium, steel, brass, paper, paint, stain and shellac
277.0 cm x 176.0 cm x 85.0 cm
Courtesy of Ray Hughes Gallery, Sydney

My work is mostly autobiographical - a form of self-portraiture in that it deals with aspects of the self. Expressing ideas of oppression in its various social, political and personal forms is a common thread.

I prefer not to talk about the possible levels of meaning in The birdman or any other of my works, as I like the viewer to bring their own experience and interpretation to the sculptures. I like there to be an element of mystery for both the viewer and myself. I like to think that the work can be read in a number of ways.

Each of my sculptures has its genesis in a simple line drawing, usually only about 15 centimetres high. The idea comes as a 'flash'.

I can push the pencil lines around for weeks without resolution, then something will appear that intrigues me. These images are intuitive and I don't quite know where they come from. The drawings are worked on until I am satisfied that I can proceed with construction.

A transparency from the drawing is projected onto a white wall so I can decide on scale and make paper patterns of all the main forms to ensure that the sculpture will be faithful to the drawing. Deciding how to physically construct the work always presents me with a unique set of problems.

For many years most of my work has been shown on plinths against a white wall so they are viewed from one side only. This is a way of making people see the image as I intend and to allow elements such as strings and wires to be seen clearly.

Titles have always been painted onto my sculptures to provide the viewer with a key to the work. I really like the look of lettering as part of the surface treatment. Often I purposely play around with the spacing or set it out in a way that is not immediately readable, which adds another element to the puzzle.

The materials in my work are collected from many sources. My objective is to make the surfaces as interesting and evocative as possible.

I am an object maker and my sculptures say a lot about myself and how I feel about the World.

Peter Cole, September 2001

click images to enlarge
The birdman - flight of fancy, COLE, Peter, 2001, Courtesy of Ray Hughes Gallery, Sydney
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The birdman - flight of fancy, COLE, Peter, 2001, Courtesy of Ray Hughes Gallery, Sydney