Face to Face: Chicagoans in the Arts

Since the beginning of her career, Cole’s paintings and drawings have centered on the human figure in general and the face in particular. While the context for her portrait work has varied over the years, Cole’s pursuit has remained consistent: to find the most accurate and authentic way to capture the sitter’s expression, character, and attitude. The drawings in this series gave Cole an opportunity to explore these elements in greater detail and, simultaneously, honor the people and forums that have inspired her art over the years.

In these 6″ x 6″ carbon pencil drawings, Cole portrays the faces of Chicago wins who participate in and engage with the Arts. While Cole designed each drawing to be viewed as a complete work, the collection highlights Chicago’s artistic vitality.

Cole worked on this series of 60 carbon pencil drawings for almost two years before the pieces premiered at the Fine Arts Building in Chicago in November 2005.

“Because the human face has always fascinated me, my first art works centered around the figure and portraiture. Over the years I have continued to paint and draw the human face, always pursuing the most accurate and authentic way of capturing the sitter’s expression, character, and surroundings.

“In this series I have chosen to portray the faces of Chicagoans in the Arts. These 6″ x 6″ carbon pencil drawings depict various individuals who participate in and engage with the Arts; their contributions to the vitality of the arts in Chicago are immeasurable.

“Conveying poses and expressions of the individual participants, with backgrounds reflective of their professions, these works aim to capture the essence of each sitter. And, while each piece can be viewed as a work complete unto itself, the series aims to capture the range of emotions people experience when engaging in artistic endeavors, such as solitude, humor, inspiration, energy, reflection, inquiry, thoughtfulness, frustration, contemplation, and joy.”

The series consists of over 60 drawings, including the pieces below. To view an excerpt of an interview in which Cole discusses the series “Face to Face: Chicagoans in the Arts,” click here.