"Cole Pierce's "Piano Clockworks" is a medley of sound installation and painting, inspired and comprised of Victorian piano innards and everyday objects. And while neither project resembles or sounds like a piano, Pierce's work promises to arouse your ears, eyes, and get you lost in a state of reverie. Basically just prepare yourself for sensory overload." - Meredith Chamberlain, Gen Art Pulse, 10/27/08
And here is my response to: What is the focus of your show? What about this particular opportunity at Old Gold excites you? What draws you to found objects?
"The first time I visited Old Gold I wanted to exhibit work there. I had heard it was a weird space with wood paneled walls, something like your best friends basement when you were a kid. What I didn’t expect was to feel such a strong sense of history. There are engravings on a post that date back to 1940, and its easy to assume that its been an underground bar for decades, maybe even a speakeasy in the 30's. It is well hidden in the basement of a nondescript apartment complex. Whatever Old Gold’s specific history, what remains is a mysterious context. My previous exhibition was a video installation where the audio played a prominent role and Old Gold seemed like the perfect place for a sound installation. My practice is centered around an effort to test or locate the limits of cognition, and I want to build on Old Gold's mysterious context, enhance it with sound and paintings.
Piano Clockworks is equally as mysterious as Old Gold. Part of the show is environmental, a visceral experience of mystery. The sound installation is a formless ambient soundscape, made out of improvised piano sets, a ticking clock, faulty recording equipment, and endless experimentation with analog and digital manipulations. I printed an edition of 50 CD’s which are available for purchase. And, like any former speakeasy, Chresten Sorenson will be serving his Kitchen Ale homebrew.
My recent paintings vary from ethereal monochromes to playful text to mind boggling op art. I favor techniques that are meant for repetition like screen printing and stencils. In one series, an image of a piano hammer is repeated and layered in a haphazard pattern. The piano hammer paintings as well as the sound installation are deconstructed pianos. Neither of the two projects resemble the look or sound of a piano. Notes of this Victorian instrument have been stretched, chopped up and repeated. And part of the mechanism which creates a note, is the image that has been repeated to fill up a series of canvases. The source material has been mediated beyond recognition, and what remains is a visceral, flickering moment. My work provides two types of flickering experiences, one that is haptic and environmental, and one that is cerebral.
I am drawn to found objects because they have a direct relationship with the everyday. The experiences I create with my artwork can be found in everyday pragmatic life, and I use found objects to point this out. Sometimes found objects are the impetus for my work. However, even when it is not apparent in my work, my affinity for found objects is important to my practice. I keep collections of obsolete items like floppy discs and dead batteries in my studio that currently do nothing but provide the creative atmosphere I need. I like to keep rooted to the mundane materials, because I don’t believe that the experiences I create are transcendental, they are not epiphanies. The experience remains immanent, and the flicker is only the limit of cognition. "
I wrote that before installing the show. I don't think I knew what I was up against. It was a struggle to find a balance between the space and my paintings. I knew that the sound installation would be a good fit, that the creepy storage room and my ambient soundscape would teeter between alienating and comforting. As for the paintings, I had to ignore my metanarrative or overarching reasons for making paintings, and just respond to the rich context. My editing process shifted, so I favored paintings that were more autonomous than others and choosing a location that let the painting fit into the architecture, or achieve a harmony within the space.
You are invited to visit, this show runs until November 16th and is open on Sundays from 1 - 4, and by appointment. View photos the show in my flickr set. Video documentation of the sound installation will be up soon, and Piano Clockworks the album is now on last.fm. Promises promises.
Old Gold Exhibitions & Events
2022 North Humboldt Boulevard
Chicago, Illinois 60647
South Entrance, Basement
California Blue Line (towards O'Hare)
Walk West on Palmer Street
South on Humboldt Boulevard to 2022
Hours: Sundays, 1 - 4 pm
By appointment 773.653.9956
Directors: Kathryn Scanlan and Caleb Lyons
|Here I am in Time Out Chicago|
and Gen Art Pulse
f News previewed Piano Clockworks, but I havent seen it.
same with Chicago Tribune