Nicole Longnecker Gallery starts the new year with dual exhibitions featuring work by Atlanta-based artist Kevin Cole and Houston icon George Smith. Both artists have enjoyed long careers and major art placements along with using a visual language that speaks of the contemporary experience while acknowledging a symbolic vocabulary of the past.
“I first met Kevin and saw his work at the opening of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture,” said gallery owner Nicole Longnecker. “I knew we needed to show his work to Houston collectors. Finding an artist to pair with Kevin led me to contact George Smith and I am delighted to show his works in our commercial space.”
KEVIN COLE: Atlanta-based art professor and mixed media artist Kevin E. Cole was born in Pine Bluff, Arkansas on January 19, 1960 to Jessie and Sam Cole, Jr. He received his B.S. degree in art education from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff in 1982; his M.A. degree in art education a year later, and his M.F.A degree in drawing from Northern Illinois University in 1984.
Cole's piece, “Increase Risk with Emotional Faith,” a mixed media wall sculpture inspired by the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. was acquired by the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture which opened in September, 2016.
He has been featured in Who’s Who in Education and received the Award of Excellence for Public Art by the Atlanta Urban Design Commission. His book "Kevin Cole Straight from the Soul: 25 Years in the Making," released in 2012, chronicles his evolution as an artist. His works are held in more than 2,000 public and private collections, including the collections of the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia; Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut; Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; King & Spalding, Atlanta, Georgia; IBM, White Plains, New York; and the private collections of former NBA player Michael Jordan; producer, songwriter, musician and film producer Dallas Austin; and Monica Pearson, renowned Atlanta television broadcast journalist.
GEORGE SMITH: George earned a BFA degree in sculpture from the San Francisco Art Institute and an MA degree from Hunter College, CUNY where he studied with Tony Smith. He was awarded many fellowships and grants including a Guggenheim Fellowship, a National Endowment Individual Grant and a National Endowment Planning Grant, two New York State Council on the Arts Creative Artist Public Service Grant (CAPS) and two Cultural Arts Council of Houston Grants.
Smith’s sculptures have been exhibited in galleries and museums throughout the United States including the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Studio Museum of Harlem. Among his many permanent sculptural commissions are Lubben Plaza for the A.H. Belo Foundation in Dallas, Texas and the Niagara Frontier Transit Authority in Buffalo New York and the Metropolitan Rapid Transportation Authority in Atlanta, Georgia. His work is also represented in the permanent collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and The Menil Collection, Houston, Texas.
He currently lives and works in Houston, Texas.