Kenny Cole

“Her Tormentors” 2018 collage, gouache on paper 18" x 24"

“Her Tormentors” 2018 collage, gouache on paper 18" x 24"


Coming of age in the late 70’s in a post Vietnam world I began my art career truly believing that we would never fight a war again thanks to the activism of the 60’s. I was one of the men born between ‘57, and ‘59, who were completely exempt from Selective Service registration. The aerial bombardment of Iraq in 1991 took me by surprise and began, for me, a gradual realization that I was a pivotal player in the cultural/political shift from a draft military to our current all volunteer military. Thus began a desire to evolve my aesthetic to change and take on more relevant content. Much of my work has since gained an activist perspective in order to begin identifying and defining emerging moral calculi.

I grew up in a suburban “development” in Poughkeepsie, New York 100 miles north of NYC. After winning the Charles Burchfield Scholarship for Art I attended Pratt Institute in Brooklyn in 1976. Upon graduation I found myself confronted with a burgeoning Neo-expressionist art scene in New York City’s East Village and much of the artistic activity was played out as artist organized shows in various nightclubs and alternative spaces. My work thus adopted an edgy, graphic, second-wave graffiti sensibility, while still attempting to resolve issues of boundary, structure and device in relation to easel painting. In 1994 I moved to Maine with my wife and two children. I joined the Union of Maine Visual Artists in 1995 and served on the board of Directors of Waterfall Arts from 1999 to 2009. My work has been exhibited at the Center for Maine Contemporary Art and at the University of Maine Museum of Art, where it was acquired into their permanent collection in 2014. I was awarded a mid career Esther and Adolph Gottlieb Foundation Grant in 2017 and have been selected to appear in New American Paintings, No. 140, Northeast Issue in 2019.




“On exhibit here are a collection of works on paper that take their starting point from one person, but more than representing an individual they explore a larger world of compartmentalized identities coughed up since Donald Trump has taken office, as supporters and detractors alike are swept along in his parade, scurrying to find footing. Gone are the formalities of diplomacy, leadership and decorum of years gone by and instead what has come forward is a feed back loop regurgitating the darkest of brash, wind driven madness that popular America has cultivated since its inception. From Twitter blue to Ajax white to Everlast red our identities, affiliations and alignments are caught up in a blur of interconnected alliances. As we attempt to untangle ourselves from the onslaught of storms, the suffocating mantle of stripes or the submerged life-blood within the earth’s strata, deeper issues of cooperation versus division and ultimately survival, loom in the background.”

Kenny Cole November 2018