Witty, playful, and enigmatic, the paintings of Cole Morgan appear to map the mysterious processes and uncharted territories of the mind.
Resembling enigmatic diagrams, charts, and games, yet situated just within the realm of abstraction, Cole Morgan’s paintings combine meticulous, focused detail with a sense of deep, open-ended mystery. Originally trained as a draftsman, Morgan combines his masterful skill in realistic drawing with an appreciation for the material joys of paint and color. Saturated pigments—cobalt blue, bright crimson, lime green—seem especially brilliant against his painting’s light-infused backgrounds.
Morgan’s shapes cast shadows, their rounded forms seeming to rise out of the painting: “A false thing pretending to be a real thing,” as Morgan has noted. His works hover between logic and imagination: gridlines dissolve into spontaneous drips; text appears almost legible, but vanishes behind ghostly overlays. Yet despite the apparent intervention of random events, each painting constitutes an exquisitely wrought pattern. "Every square millimeter of canvas is controlled," Morgan has said. "There are no 'accidents' in my compositions." Through his labor-intensive process of layering and re-layering, modeling and drawing, Morgan sets up compelling tensions between form and formlessness, abstraction and representation.
Morgan's work has been exhibited internationally at the Ludwig Museum, Koblenz, Germany; CIGE, Beijing; the Korea International Art Fair; Galerie Mia Joosten, Amsterdam, and Museum Laerken Nykobing Falster, Denmark, among many others. Born in New York in 1950, he lives and works in Antwerp, Belgium.