“Cole’s paintings are devoted to a remarkable presence of absence. The London streets she has painted, the rooms at Charleston, the Marylebone shops, the imaginary interiors of the collectors of real paintings and sculpture –with their massively empty chairs – all shout out with a human presence that is not there. Even her rooftops show empty ladders, as if they were an obstacle course for acrobats. These interiors are well-used, reeking of a lifetime of touching and placing, of someone looking fondly at the paintings-within-a-painting. But everyone has now left, and they are anyway a bit old-fashioned in design, as if in looking at her rooms we were returning to a house some time after its owners had moved on.
But this mourning of absence is overwhelmed by the loving colour. There are many colours still to be invented, just in the gaps between those already created from artist’s pigments, and Cole possesses an evidently instinctive visual skill in finding those slightly culinary shades of pleasure. And her feeling for space and light fills up the rich patterns of her inventions, as if they were all really there before our eyes. One of her paintings on a wall of our own house would point to a revived space from the past, containing the works of art, which like hers, reward with their infinite life.”
- David Fraser Jenkins, Curator
Cole's paintings reflect her interest in Art History, provenance and the role women have played in both. She regularly looks to women artists & collectors of the past for affirmation, guidance and inspiration. She paints homes, not least because they are a realm of women, an area unlike most others where they are authored by women. Though people are rarely seen in her paintings, she believes the domestic interior contains considerable biography & human emotion from grief to celebration seen through the objects on the mantlepiece or the paintings on the wall.
Cole began a Foundation at Wimbledon Art School and went on to study Art History at St Andrews University. She enjoys reading a picture, and as such likes her work to operate on different levels - the first simply an interior - the second the decoding of allusions and objects.
While there is an obvious preoccupation with content in the pictures focus is given to the emotional impact of colour and physicality of paint. Cole works equally in oils as well as gouache & watercolour as they convey light and mass so readily.
In 2019 she set up Minerva Workshop, in London. www.minervaworkshop.co.uk organises talented artists from up and down the country to give workshops and masterclasses. She also runs a weekly art group.
In 2021 she was elected an Associate Member of the Royal Watercolour Society.
Opposite, Interior with Jessica Dismorr & Pansy Orchid (selected for Sunday Times Watercolour Competition 2019)