Cole Case: Diamond bullets / New Paintings / 2006

February 11 – March 18, 2006

Reception for the artist Saturday, February 11, 5 – 8 pm.

Western Project is proud to present the first solo exhibition by Los Angeles artist Cole Case. A graduate of Stanford, and Art Center College of Design, Case has developed a visual and material vocabulary that draws from turn of the century American painting, animation and this digital age of imaging. Working with the tradition of sparse compositions and hyper color, the work contains both familiar and surreal feelings – a kind of displaced knowledge that stems from the past, but with a ‘Pixar’ focus. It is not merely the stylistic methodology he uses to combine a myriad of opposites; it is the material quality of paint he employs; thick, brushy, flat, wiry, and detailed. Each object or surface he paints seems to hold an animate language of humor and near terror – as though his spare world will peel away or jump off the panel at will.

What is primary however, is the content of Case’s images. Each is an epiphany from his life – hence the frozen clarity and simplicity of the paintings. Akin to Philip Guston’s later works, Case explores what appears to be the ordinary world with a peculiar vision. Each picture is a small monument to moments of exactness and understanding. They are what Marlon Brando described in Apocalypse Now as ‘diamond bullets’ – the piercing of illusion. What is remarkable is Case’s ability to pull from memory, a kind of ‘altered state’ picture as event –  baseball signs on the highway, rafting to Catalina, or bussing through Egypt – depictions of immaterial occurrences as startling pictures.