Looks like work of an artist having fun.
Seeing Bets Cole's exhibition of recent portraits, finishing up a two-month run at the LaFollette Gallery downtown, is like visiting a collection of comfortable old friends and neighbors.
Painted mostly in acrylic on paper, and done with a quick and colorful hand, they focus as much on the terrain of the human face as the psychology of the human character. These are people, first of all, with big noses, craggy lips and odd chins. They wear hats or carry umbrellas that are just plain fun to paint and to look at.
Cole, an Elmira artist, was just in the news this month for a historical mural she and Karen Russo created in ceramic for the Oregon State Fair in Salem. That commissioned job was a more involved work, one involving research and planning, and bound by the limitations of a public art contract.
The portraits, on the other hand, are what an artist might do for fun, and they show it.
My own favorite is "Maureen," whose glasses slump crookedly down her pronounced nose as she leans on her elbows. Maureen has lush black hair and a receding chin. The prim glasses make her look like a librarian.
In a second painting titled "Maureen," though, the glasses are gone, and a sultrier Maureen has let her hair down a bit. The same woman? A different side? We're invited to enjoy wondering.
Portraits by Bets Cole
When: Through May
Where: LaFollette Gallery, 931 Oak St.
Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday
``Maureen'' by Bets Cole.
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|Publication:||The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)|
|Date:||May 22, 2005|
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