Works 2000

The original title for this series was Graven Images, reflecting a collection of disparate images dealing with loss: Loss to society. Loss to ourselves. Loss to the world. According to a early draft of Cole’s Artist Statement for this series:

“The images represent the things—language, literature, art, artisanship, and the environment—that are slowly, subtly being eroded in, and more likely, by our culture. Even our air, our food and our water are contributing to the eradication of all living things on earth. It is a slow, inexorable process caused, too often, by the senseless neglect and abuse by humans, who will be among the first to feel the effects of this environmental neglect.

“The goal of the series Graven Images is to subtly warn all of us of the consequences of our rapidly approaching neglected futures through the medium of art, which is an eternally optimistic expression of mankind’s ability to intervene and save—not only humanity, but all things living with us on this tiny, fragile planet.”

Over time, the series was renamed Works 2000, commemorating the new millennium in a way that privileged expectation in spite of the anxieties people may have been feeling at the close of the twentieth century. The Artist Statement (below) for the series was revised to reflect this shift.

“As a record of human history, art compels me to create works that speak to and about our time. In these pieces, I express trepidation and optimism for the new millennium.

“Craft is a critical part in creating the illusion of form, light, and space—the formal elements—in these works. Meanwhile, figures, objects, and landscapes become metaphors for decay, renewal, and hope. By using classical techniques to present contemporary subject matter, I hope to encourage the viewer to reflect upon and engage in conversations about our future.”

Representative works from this series are below. To view an excerpt of an interview in which Cole discusses the “Museum of…” series, click here.