In the Studio: Hannah Cole

Parallel, 2010 | Oil on canvas, 36 x 56 inches

In an industrial part of Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, under the elevated subway tracks at Smith & 9th Street, lies the studio building of New York-based artist Hannah Cole. The rolling sounds of the F and G trains were heard overhead as I visited with her recently, an appropriate setting for Cole, whose subject matter is often culled from her surroundings. Her recent paintings are geometric abstractions of objects seen in her walk to the studio.

"It’s exciting to me to see stuff on the street that I don’t know how I’m going to translate into paint," Cole tells me in her studio. "That’s the most exciting problem to have because that’s always where the more interesting painting happens."

History Painting #1, 2009 | Oil on canvas, 20 x 24 inches

Double Subtext (Purple Smudge), 2010 | Oil on canvas, 22 x 24 inches

Featured in Edition #80 of New American Paintings, Cole was formerly in Boston where she enjoyed a string of solo shows with Alpha GalleryLaconia Gallery, and Steven Zevitas Gallery. Her current work continues where Mantle, her exhibition with Zevitas, left off, but Cole's interest in her surroundings has also led to several works inspired by the mundane items of her Brooklyn studio, including colored post-its and screw holes in the walls.

"I find them personal in the sense that for me they refer to all these art heroes of mine, the American Modernists... I just feel like moving to New York, that’s the history on your shoulders. There’s some Robert Ryman going on in some of them."

Despite the common things that inspire her, Cole's works are very much her own, and anything but ordinary. —EJG


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