Monday, January 12, 2015

Phase Transition at Roman Susan

Cole Pierce: Phase Transition
February 6, 2015 - February 26, 2015
Roman Susan 
1224 W. Loyola Ave | Chicago, IL 60626 

Reception: Friday, February 6 // 6 PM
Gallery Hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday 3-6 PM and Saturday 12-3 PM

Phase Transition is an installation of recent paintings and a wall mural from Pierce’s geometric abstraction series. In his work, he employs multiple layers of vivid optical rhythms, and purposely counters the rational pattern with unpredictable variations. 

#63 (2014) Oil and Acrylic on Canvas, 48"x60"
Pierce received an MFA in Art Theory & Practice from Northwestern University in 2007. His work has been reviewed in Modern Painters Magazine, Visual Art Source, and Papercut Magazine. He recently had a solo show at Butler University and participated in group shows at CAM Raleigh, Johalla Projects, and Nebraska Wesleyan University. His first large scale mural was completed in September 2014 for Hoop Dreams, a charity basketball tournament by Empty Bottle Presents.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Rocket Run: Abstraction from Chicago

Honored to be included in this amazing group show.
Over 60 Chicago based artists, organized by Alexander Herzog
Elder Gallery, Nebraska Wesleyan College, Lincoln, NE
Oct 22 - Nov 23, 2014

- Geoffrey Todd Smith
- Alison Reimus
- Michelle Bolinger
- Esau McGhee
- Cole Pierce
- Todd Chilton
- Scott Stack
- Samantha Bittman
- Scott Wolniak 
- Josh Reames
- Zoe Nelson
- Jacob Goudreault
- Matt Irie
- Andrew Falkowski
- Rose Disalvo
- Ron Ewert
- Alexander Herzog
- Steven Husby
- Eric Lebofsky
- Karen Azarnia
- Noah Rorem
- Andy Hall
- Michelle Grabner
- Judith Geichman
- Elijah Burgher
- George Liebert
- Sofia Leiby
- Brad Killam
- Jessica Labatte
- Peter Fagundo
- Kelly Kaczynski
- John Opera
- Judy Ledgerwood
- Darrell Roberts
- Dan Devening
- John Phillips
- Robert Burnier
- Leslie Baum
- Luis Romero
- Jerome Acks
- Ryan Travis Christian
- Dana DeGiulio
- Kaylee Wyant
- Titus Dawson
- Andrew Holmquist
- Rafael Vera
- Jessie Mott
- Matt Morris
- David Linneweh
- Richard Hull
- Deborah Boardman
- Zachary Buchner
- Mara Baker
- Ryan M Pfieffer  & Rebecca Walz
- Carmen Price
- Eric Ruschman
- Erin Washington
- Candida Alvarez
- Craig Yu
- Oli Watt

Empty Bottle Presents: Hoop Dreams

Empty Bottle held a charity basketball tournament for Ceasefire, and I painted the court and two murals on the court.  Check out EB's site for more info and photos: Link

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Rocket Run, Abstraction from Chicago, Elder Gallery, Lincoln NE, Oct 22- Nov 23

Editor's Pick / Recommended by Visual Art Source

Visual Art Source

Cole Pierce, "Triangle is the Strongest Shape #37," 2013, oil and acrylic on canvas, 20 x 20"

It’s not that easy to put together a compelling group show of geometric abstraction, not for lack of contemporary engagement with the genre (it certainly has no shortage of practitioners), but because innovative, novel approaches to the dialogue are hard to come by. In “Measurable Inconsistencies,” however, Richard Blackwell, Cole Pierce, and Zin Helena Song, brought together by curator Tyler Blackwell, provide abstractions that deviate from the well-worn course with smart, playful uses of space, perception and texture.

Continuing through August 31, 2014

In works like Chicago-based Pierce’s "Triangle is the Strongest Shape #23," what initially appears to be flat, uniform patterning is upon closer viewing a shallow but dimensional relief of deep brush strokes and rigid taped off edges. In four sculptures by New York artist Song, the use of painted corners and actual ones confuse the eye. As the viewer moves around the pieces, you are never able to see all the planes from any one angle. Blackwell contributes an installation. A framed print of a geometric form is covered in a geometric pattern and hung on a geometrically patterned, screen printed wall. This produces commingling notions of fore- and background that exudes an exuberance of form and repetition.

- See more at:





JULY 25 — AUGUST 31, 2014

Opening Reception: Friday, July 25 from 7-10pm
By Appointment Only

Johalla Projects is very pleased to announce MEASURABLE INCONSISTENCIES, a summer group exhibition bringing together the artwork of three artists who work directly with shape, form, and structure. The exhibition will run from JULY 25 to AUGUST 31, 2014. An opening reception will be held on Friday, July 25 from 7-10pm.

At a primary level, Richard BlackwellCole Pierce, and Zin Helena Song each employ the geometric shape, using its formal qualities to inform and populate their works. More interesting, however, is the true nature of these artists’ practices, which function further to create breaks in the rigid structure, to create new interactions, or to disassemble the form entirely. Color also plays a vital role in this assemblage of works and operates chiefly as a catalyst for vivid optical rhythms and compositional choices.

Here, MEASURABLE INCONSISTENCIES explores these departures from pure form and instead inspects more subversive takes on geometric abstraction. By strategically incorporating unpredictable variations in the compositional framework of their respective works, Blackwell, Pierce, and Song arrive at a more engaging formula that encourages rigorous interactivity.

MEASURABLE INCONSISTENCIES is curated by Tyler Blackwell.

LVL3 Artist of the Week


Cole Pierce lives and works in Chicago. He earned an MFA in Art Theory and Practice from Northwestern University, a Post-Baccalaureate in Painting and Drawing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, a BA in Art and a BA Sociology from Cornell College. He recently had a solo show at Butler University, was in a group show at CAM Raleigh, has been in numerous exhibitions in and around Chicago and also as far as Cairo, Egypt and Sarajevo, Bosnia.  Modern Painters Magazine reviewed his work in 2012 and he has been featured in many online publications including Papercut Magazine, Disquiet, Art Social, and Sixty Inches from the Center.  He is a co-author of Field Mic, a sound art and music blog and is a contributor to NUMBERS.FM, an experimental music radio station.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do.
I grew up in Iowa and moved to Chicago shortly after college, where I lived in a house full of art students and transients before going to graduate school.  Back then my practice included anything and everything, and in grad school I narrowed it down to painting, found object installation, and video.  I was interested in finding and making a quiet flickering moment that I equated to everyday epiphanies.  I graduated in 2007 from NU and for a couple years I was in brainstorming mode, inventing systems to make abstract paintings and making analog glitch videos. My current project, the Triangle is the Strongest Shape, came out of that brainstorming period. This series started in 2008 but I was also working on 2 or 3 other projects at the same time. In 2011 I decided to dedicate my studio to the Triangle series because I realized that all of the issues I was interested in could be found in these paintings of skewed triangle grids. I was, and still am fascinated with the visceral effect of Op Art and it being an example of a limit of cognition. By the time I was technically able to achieve a mind-blowing optical effect, I became more interested in the imperfections and started to add elements that detracted from the strong optics. I wanted to focus on the phase transition into the optical effect, which I am still working on today.  
What are some recent, upcoming or current projects you are working on?
I am currently working on a set of three paintings, a kind of subset of the series, each sized 48”x 60” in mostly black to white gradients.  They will be #44, #45 and #46 of the series, and they are the first paintings I’ve made where there are multiple layers of gradients over the masked off triangle grid.  
I also have an ongoing side project where I make an edition of audio multiples about once a year.  It is essentially an intricate mix CD of ambient, electronic and found sounds that I distribute to a mailing list and share on the internet.  I sent out the last edition in March of 2014, and this summer I will start collecting songs that will determine the theme for the next edition.
What are you currently watching on Netflix/what’s on your Netflix queue?
I don’t know about Netflix but the new Fargo series on FX is fun to watch. Some of the intros are long, one-take scenes like Gus Van Zant or Bela Tarr, minimal and sinister.  
What is one of the bigger challenges you and/or other artists are struggling with these days and how do you see it developing?
The biggest challenge is making a decent living.  There are plenty of opportunities to exhibit in Chicago and the arts community here is strong but the market is not so supportive.  There are a handful of success stories, but most artists I know have day jobs and are now starting families. My kids were both born when I was in grad school so I’ve had time to find a balance between work/art making/parenting.  It is still a struggle, especially on beautiful days when I’d rather be at the beach with my kids than working in the studio.  
What materials do you use in your work and what is your process like?
My process is formulaic and I make gradual changes over time. I keep a notebook with rough sketches and ideas to try.  I’ll make 3 or 4 paintings with similar color and compositions before moving on to the next idea. I start with a layer of acrylic, which I cover in a pattern of triangles that I have cut out of painters tape. This is the time consuming part where I slowly build the structure and decide how many glitches will disrupt the pattern.  After the tape is sealed I’ll use oils to paint a gradient or a fluid abstraction.  The final product is revealed when I peel off the tape.   
What artists are you interested in right now?
Tauba Auerbach and her instagram feed, Jessica Eaton, Anoka Faruqee, Russell Tyler, and Jeremy DePrez to name a few.  I’ve unintentionally become a heavy tumblr user, and will frequently post artwork I find on the internet.  So you could say I’m interested in a gazillion artists right now but I don’t know if they really count because I’ve only seen their work on a bright digital screen. I try to reserve judgement until I’ve seen it for real.
How has your work developed within the past year?
Last winter I decided to complicate the paintings further by adding a layer of smaller triangles, which is the beginning of the Sierpinski fractal pattern. This made the pattern more detailed and it also gave me an extra layer to play with, so I could combine various gradient compositions.   Last fall I was experimenting with vibrant color combinations, which I was happy with, but when I changed up the composition I decided to return to black and white in order to  focus on what the new structure was doing.  I have one more painting to make in this black and white mode and then I’ll decide how to bring more vibrant colors into the mix.
What are you really excited about right now?
Biking 20 miles a day on my commute to work now that the weather is nice and Chicago is beautiful once again.
Listening to audiobooks in the studio. I just finished the Hyperion Cantos by Dan Simmons, an epic sci fi space drama. Another of my recent favorites is 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami.  The process of taping off the canvas is quite time consuming so I just settle in and put on an audio book.
Any current or upcoming shows we should know about (that we can include in our LVL3 Media calendar)?
I’m in a group show at Johalla Projects that opens July 28th. Josue Pellot and I are working on a collaborative piece for a show at Roman Susan on October 10th. I also have work in a massive group show in October at Elder Gallery in LIncoln, NE.
What are you listening to right now?
Future Islands, Deru, Ray Charles, Colin Vallon Trio, Man Forever & So Percussion, anything that comes out on 12k, and the Lee Scratch Perry Pandora station.