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New Jersey-born and based artist Willie Cole creates many of his works by repurposing objects such as irons, hair dryers and, in this case, shoes. His shoe sculptures and masks communicate messages about African history. I happened upon the last day of Cole’s show If wishes were horses… at the Alexander and Bonin Gallery in Chelsea this past weekend which featured a large bronze sculpture in the center of the lower floor titled Sole Sitter. At first glance the seated figure appeared to be just that, but upon closer inspection the oversized stacked shoes became evident and just at that moment all the shoe masks on the walls came into focus as well. Super-cleverly done, these pieces have an African art feel to them. Cole is not new to creating with shoes. A few years back at the same gallery I saw his impressive shoe mandalas, but these more recent sculptures really take the use of shoes to a new dimension.
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