Man Spirit Mask

Various artists/makers

Not on view

Everyday objects, such as steam irons and ironing boards, act as both the subject and the material in Cole’s art. There, these household goods have a range of associations including slave ships, African art, domestic labor, and the found objects of the Dada and Surrealist art movements. In Man, the left panel, a manipulated, black-and-white photograph of Cole’s face is overlaid with the embossed outline and scarification-like markings of a steam iron. In Spirit (center), an iron’s base is rendered in brown tones and with blurred edges, referencing a scorched surface as well as the markings on Cole’s photograph of his face. At right, a bird’s-eye view of an antique dry iron with a wooden handle resembles an African mask placed over an upside-down version of Cole’s portrait.

Man Spirit Mask, Willie Cole (American, born Newark, New Jersey, 1955), Left panel: Photo-etching, embossing, and hand coloring
Middle panel: Screenprint 
Right panel: Photo-etching and woodcut

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