Mel Cole | Artist

Mel Cole's aim is to use drawing as a vehicle to deconstruct sentimental and idealised images of childhood. She is interested in overturning expectations of delusional romantic ideals and nostalgia. In her drawings any suggestions of gratuitous ideals that can be nauseatingly sentimental, are subtly upturned. This can in turn become unsettling. Cole is interested in work trying to question society's morality and social anxiety.

Guy Debord tells us, “The spectacle presents itself as a vast inaccessible reality that can never be questioned. Its sole message is “what appears is good; what is good appears.” The passive acceptance it demands is already effectively imposed by its monopoly of appearances, its manner of appearing without allowing any reply.”

Born in 1981, Mel lives and works in London and recently graduated from the MA Fine Art programme at Chelsea College of Art & Design. Based at her home studio she is currently working to incorporate collage into her drawing and is experimenting with images and texts found on a residency in Berlin.

“I like drawing as a medium, just pencil on paper. The parameters of drawing are huge, but I prefer to limit myself.”

Her delicate, sensitive knitted pencil marks invite us to take a closer look at the apparent subtleties of the drawn line. They tempt the viewer closer to inspect the paper, encouraging them to peer intimately at the small drawing, Boy with Snorkel. Her use of coloured pencil emphasises the ghost like quality of the boy's flesh. Within the drawing there is a dichotomy from the use of children's colouring pencils, and the adult's hand to make the drawing.

Big Head in Net

Big Head in Net

Big Head in Net, detail

Big Head in Net, detail

The blank paper around this drawing acts like an uncomfortable silence. There is an uncanny quality from the severed head indicating that something is amiss, the stiff motionless gaze from the ceramic head that was previously an idealised object. The drawn netting around and over the head prevents us from getting too close, leaving a blank hole of anxiety and anticipation.

Mel's recent group exhibition at Space Station Sixty–Five, IDES OF MARCH, premiered new work inspired by the Shakespearean notions of madness, pleasure and pandemonium.

“Ides of March is a term used in relation to unrest, prophecies of doom, a feeling that something bad is going to happen. In my drawing I draw attention to a sense of anxiety, making the banal perverted in a manner that is abstract but with subtlety.”

Taking inspiration from friends and those around her, Mel's next projects include producing an edition to be produced in a portfolio box with four other artists and the curation of a pop-up exhibition in June that will explore themes of childhood.

Triptych of the Virgin, Dieric Bouts

Triptych of the Virgin, Dieric Bouts

Daily, my friends inspire me — I have amazing friends who do great things. Early Flemish paintings are also inspiring. If I’m stuck with what to do or I need to clean my eyes I look at these paintings.

For more information on Mel and her artwork go to melcole.co.uk

© 2013 Debra O’Sullivan / © Drawings Mel Cole

Mel at friend's exhibition opening, Fold gallery, London

Mel at friend's exhibition opening, Fold gallery, London

Mel's home studio

Mel's home studio

ArtDebra O'Sullivan