Barbara Cole Fine Art Photographer.
Figure transformation has been a predominant theme in my work. Over the past thirty years I have been operating as a painter but employing traditional photographic tools.
I rework this canvas with a toolkit that includes clouds, reflections, plastic sheeting, cloth-encased figures as well as aperture, shutter speed and artificial lighting. I will photograph from above in order to flatten the perspective. It is important to me to capture these photographic constructions completely in-camera creating everything on site rather than later with Photoshop as much as possible.
Over the past decade, my practice has explored the medium of water, which has become a natural lens that refocuses and reinterprets my painterly aesthetic. Water allows me to move the human figure in unconventional ways. Photography affords me the ability to play with notions of time and place. By seeing through water, rather than through air, I am able to re-envision the nature of our relationship to our surroundings. Working in the water also provides an ideal space to continue to explore figurative. It also allows me to refocus attention on this natural resource that we have in abundance and is often taken for granted.
Challenging the perception of the figure in space is another strong thematic element in my work. Of late I find myself slowly progressing toward the almost total dissolution of the figure creating a dramatic tension between the figure and form, testing the nature of photography and its impact on our experience of reality.
— Barbara Cole
Barbara Cole’s artwork is extensively collected by both public and private institutions, and has been exhibited worldwide in such venues as the Canadian embassies in Washington, D.C. and Tokyo, Japan. Throughout her career, Cole has worked internationally on commercial projects and large-scale art commissions including installations for the Breast Cancer Centre in Toronto’s Princess Margaret Hospital and for Trump Hollywood, Florida. She has won prestigious awards such as the Grand Prize at the Festival International de la Photographie de Mode in Cannes, and third prize at the International Photography Awards in New York. Barbara Cole lives and works in Toronto, Canada.