Barbara Cole | Appearances
April 15-29, 2021
350 Dundas Street West, Toronto
In Appearances, Cole attributes her dreamlike photography to “portraits” of anthropomorphized flowers. As the title of the series suggests, these images ask what it means to possess a form (human or otherwise) and what is considered worthy to be the subject of an artist’s attention. This exploration into transformation, nature, and beauty is marked by Cole’s exquisite use of water as a medium that naturally reshapes form.
By anthropomorphizing these flowers with stunning finesse, flitting between what we perceive as photography and painting, Cole expands the possibilities of the photograph and the act of empathy altogether. Isolated like all of us during lockdown, Cole began this series out of necessity but also as an exercise in connection. Each flower is given a human name, imbuing them with personalities which, especially during a time of isolation, remind us of personalities we have all been longing to reconnect with.
By alluding to traditional representations of flowers through her unique contemporary lens, the photographs in Appearances embody a timeless sensibility that likewise further expands Cole’s prolific body of work.