Chris Cole’s kinetic sculptures and paintings are the result of a life spent exploring the relationships between the industrial and natural worlds, between human progress and humanity’s excesses. “The Northwest, and the small towns that have been my home, provide the stark contrast of immense natural beauty overlaid with an industrial superstructure”.
It is in this intersection of nature and industry that I find inspiration. So many of the seemingly surreal organisms that exist in the wild are both mirrored and threatened by human machinery.
My sculptures are heavily influenced by the visionaries of the industrial revolution. The quest for flight, the ceaseless desire for faster, more versatile and efficient transportation relied undeniably on the workings of the natural world. The 19th century produced mechanism from organism. Though I am thoroughly fascinated by machines, I am troubled by our culture’s resulting disconnection with the natural world. My work, therefore, considers a regression from mechanism back to organism.
Sculpture is a means through which I can explore the concepts of movement, functionality and esthetics. Understanding physics, and the way things work, has always been a fascination of mine. My paintings, alternatively, provide an avenue for a departure from the laws of physics. Through painting, I conceive of things as a blend of organism and mechanism. Since I was very young, I have been taking things apart and reconfiguring them in new and different ways, and painting allows me the greatest freedom in this aspect.
All of my sculptures are kinetic, driven by either a motor or hand crank.
Galia is a hand-cranked fish with parts moving at 3 different speeds. She is made of 1226 welds, 105 hand-cut pieces of steel, 17 bicycle cogs, 10 bicycle hubs, 13 bicycle dropouts, 2 mountain bike cassettes, 24 feet of bike chain, and took more than 240 hours to build.