CHAD COLE’S “DEEPER SOUTH” OPENS AT MGC
(Cochran, GA) – Chad Cole’s exhibit “Deeper South” recently opened at Middle Georgia College’s Peacock Gallery in Russell Hall. Cole hosted a Gallery Talk in honor of its opening for MGC students, faculty, and community members.
In his exhibit, Cole explores what it means to be an artist as well as what it means to live in the South. In his artist’s statement, Cole, a contemporary artist who paints both landscape and figurative works, explains that “his paintings are distinctly rooted in Southern imagery, culture, and theme. Themes include alienation, flight, love, and consumption with subjects, stories, and symbols representative of Americana and the Southern Gothic literary movement.”
Cole said his artistic influences are always changing. “Right now I’m inspired by folk art,” he said. “It seems so honest to me.” However, for his Deeper South exhibit, Cole was influenced by artists Carroll Cloar and Peter Doig, as well as Southern writer Flannery O’Conner. Cole painted his piece “Flannery’s Barn” in a gothic style to mimic O’Connor’s style of writing. I wanted to treat the painting like she treats her words,” he said
Three of Cole’s paintings, “Untitled,” “Flannery’s Barn,” and “Make Way for Walmart,” all depict scenes with barns. Cole was inspired to paint “Make Way for Walmart” after seeing the remains of an old barn standing next to a Walmart. “It’s a comment on our old and new Southern economics, and how we buy into this system,” said Cole.
The only painting in the exhibit that features text, “Wheatland,” was based on a picture of Cole’s grandmother, who used to pick cotton on a farm in Texas. After interviewing her about the photograph, he used her words on the bottom of the painting. “It was a way to document her and a way to preserve a moment,” he said.
Charlie Agnew, an MGC Associate Professor of Art and the Peacock Gallery Director, said Cole’s work is appealing to the MGC community because of its Southern interest and themes, as well as its ability to allow viewers to draw their own conclusions. “They are well done paintings that took a lot of thought and skill,” he said. “The Southern interest adds a new dimension but allows the viewer to add a new story and interpretation.”
Brittany Roberts, a MGC student on the Cochran campus, said she enjoyed the exhibit. “I really liked it,” she said. “The paintings share a concept, but each seems so different. This is my first time going to a gallery opening, but I will definitely go to another one.”
Cole earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Augusta State University, and his K-12 Art Teacher Certification from Texas State University. Besides his work as a painter, Cole is an art teacher at Augusta Preparatory Day School in Martinez, Ga.
“Deeper South” will be on display through November 4. Peacock Gallery is open Monday-Thursday from 8:30 to 5:30, and on Fridays from 9:00 to 12:00 noon. The exhibit is free and open to the public