About Carolyn Cole

Artist's Statement

Painting is a revelatory process that explores the artist's intuitive relationship to his or her artwork. My work hovers between consciousness and intuition, combining emotional content, observation, technical skill, exploration, and reinvention. I try to create surfaces that are visually intriguing with expressive colors and shapes.

Each painting has several layers of paint and collage. I begin each one on canvas or paper, painting on collaged envelopes, continuing until a rich texture emerges. I use acrylic paints, pencil, and charcoal surfaces. I paint over areas and scrape the surface with a palette knife to reveal the layers underneath.

This series of paintings reveals the introspective part of my personality. Each one is inspired by its collaged elements and the layers from my past and present. I hope that they reflect my intense desire to paint.

Carolyn Cole


Carolyn Cole finds her voice within the rich traditions of abstraction and creates a cohesive body of work that translates into a language of intense color, sumptuous textures, and organic compositions. Color plays an important role in describing the emotional value and mood of each work. Her forms are instinctually achieved through the process of applying multiple layers of pigment, and her textured surfaces result from this process. The paintings combine dense surfaces, abstraction, geometry and many layers of paint.

Carolyn Cole lives in Portland, Oregon and has had over 40 solo exhibitions and been the recipient of many artist awards in the past 32 years. A magna cum laude graduate of Portland State University in 1977, her work has been exhibited all over the United States, including the Seattle Art Museum and Portland Art Museum. She spent ten years as an artist in New York City, where she exhibited extensively before settling back into the Northwest in 1991. She is represented by galleries in Portland, Santa Fe, Chicago, Seattle, Palm Desert, Carmel and now the Mark Gallery, Englewood, New Jersey. Her paintings are included in numerous private and public collections such as former Vice President Al Gore, Gordon Seigel, president of Crate & Barrel, former Presidential Chief of Staff John Podesta, Titan Pharmaceuticals, Walt Disney Productions, Zale Corporation, IBM Corporation, Kaiser Permanente, RNM Properties, Salton, Inc., TRW Corporation, American Express, Campbell Soup Company, and the Heinz Corporation.

Awards and Grants

1988     Woodstock Art Colony, Fellowship Resident
1979      Artist Fellowship Grant, Oregon Art Commission
1979     Art in Public Places Program, Artist in Residency, Portland, Oregon
1976     Outstanding Scholar of 1976, Scholarship awarded by Women Faculty of PSU      

Ehibition Reviews/Articles/Media

Ralph Lauren Magazine, February, 2011, p. 3, illus.
Art World News, Dec.-Jan., 2010, p. 42, illus.
Architectural Digest Magazine, March, 2010, p. 108-109, illus.
Oregon Artbeat, video aired in Feb. 2010, Oregon Public Broadcast
Ping-Pong, An Art and Literary Journal of the Henry Miller Memorial Library,
2010, Big Sur, California, p.42-43, illus.
Oregon Home, March/April, 2008, p. 72, illus.
Art Star Radio, interview with Eva Lake, October, 2006, Portland, Oregon
Monterey County Herald, August, 2006, p. 28, illus.
PSU Magazine, Fall, 2005, p.30, illus.
Portland Monthly, February, 2005, p.114, illus.
Pottery Barn, 2005 winter catalog, p. 58, illus.
Eureka Vacuum Cleaners 2005 television commercial, illus.
Carber,Kristine M., "Auntie Mame Modern," San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco, California (June 30, 2004), illus.
San Francisco International Art Fair Catalog, 2004, illus.
Robbins, Essentials of Organizational Behavior, image of painting on book cover, Pearson Education, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey (2004)
Preston, Computers in a Changing Society,  image of painting on book cover, Pearson Education, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey, (2004)
Design Within Reach, 2003 catalog, p. 61, illus.
Tom Palmer, American Art Collector's Book One, Alcove Books, Berkeley, California (2004)
Speer, Richard, Art Review, Willamette Week, Portland, Oregon, (February 12. 2003)
Art Review, Willamette Week,  Portland, Oregon, (May, 2001)
Art Review, Portland Tribune, Portland, Oregon, (May, 2001), illus.
The Editors of House Beautiful, Bathrooms,  (1999), illus.
Bonasinga, Kate, Art Review, Willamette Week, (June 24, 1998) p.67, illus.
The Editors of House Beautiful, Bedrooms, (1996), illus.
Gragg, Randy, "Contacts Established, Two Artists Head for Home," The Oregonian,
Portland, Oregon, (November, 1990)
Bisson, Mariella, "Art, Bridges, Space," Catalog for curated exhibition, Brooklyn, New York,  (1987)
Art Review, New York Newsday, (May 11, 1986)
Watson, Brett, "Soho to Dumbo," On the Avenue, New York, New York, (February, 1986),
Art Review, The Phoenix,  Brooklyn, New York, (October 9, 1985), illus.
Whitenack, Michael, "Paperworks," Catalog by Visual Arts Resources, Eugene, Oregon, for  traveling exhibition, (1980-83), illus.
Kuo, Susanna, "Report from Distaff Side," Willamette Week, (March 7, 1978),
Walsh, Mike, "Homage to Eros," Artweek, (April 1, 1978), Hull, Roger, Art Review, The Oregon Statesman, (December 2, 1977), illus.
Art Review, The Daily Barometer, Corvallis, Oregon (September 22, 1977), illus.
Hull, Roger, "Two Women's Art: A Personal Response, A Violent Outburst," The Oregonian (January 16, 1977),illus.    
Tsurutani, Diane M., "Oregon Group Exhibition Mixed Media and Techniques" Catalog by
Portland Art Museum, Portland, Oregon, (January, 1977), Illus.
Sutinen, Paul, Art Review, Willamette Week,  Portland, Oregon (January 10, 1977), illus.
Hull, Roger, "Art Views-A Sensuous, Stimulating Look at Art of the Northwest,"
The Oregonian, Portland, Oregon (October, 1976)
Lippard, Lucy, "In Touch: Nature, Ritual and Sensuous Art from the Northwest,"
Art in American, (March, 1977), illus.
"The Art of Carolyn Cole," Spectrum Magazine, Portland, Oregon (Spring, 1977) illus.
Brodsky, Judith K., "Contemporary Issues: Works on Paper by Women," Catalog for national invitational traveling exhibit sponsored by The Women's Caucus for Art, (1977), illus.
Tarzan, Delores, "Northwest Art Sensuous in Portland Show," The Seattle Times, Seattle,  Washington, (October 3, 1976)
Jenkins, Donald, "Paperworks II," Catalog, Portland Art Museum, Portland, Oregon
Knapp, Robert, "Invisible Provinces," Encore Magazine, (October, 1976)
Kelley, Claire C., "Sense and Sensuality in Northwest Art," Artweek, (October 23, 1976), illus.

Selected Private/Public Collections

Attorney General of Washington, Seattle, Washington
American Express, New York, New York
Asia Europe America Bank, Seattle, Washington
Bankers Trust Bank, New York, New York
Banque Indosuez, New York, New York
Boutwell, Beard & Grimes, Portland, Oregon
Brown, Tarlow, Smith & Bridges, Newberg, Oregon (several paintings)
Bullivant, Houser, Bailey PC, Portland, Oregon (several paintings)
Campbell Soup Company, Camden, New Jersey (several paintings)
CIGNA Corporation, New York, New York
City Commissioner Charles Jordan, Portland, Oregon
City of Portland, Oregon (several paintings)
Tyler Comann, San Francisco, California  (several paintings)
Bill Draper, Draper Richards, LP, San Francisco, California
Emmanuel Hospital, Portland, Oregon
Facilities West, for Pacificorp, Portland, Oregon (several paintings)
First American Title Corporation, Los Angeles, California
Senator Al Gore, Nashville, Tennessee
General Catalyst, Cambridge, Massachusetts
Governor's Mansion, Salem, Oregon
Graphic Ink & Chemical, Chicago, Illinois
Hanlon Brown Design, Portland, Oregon
Hannah Anderson Designs, Portland, Oregon
Health Resources, Tualatin, Oregon
Henshaw & Culbertson, Boston, Massachusetts
The Heinz Corporation, Los Angeles, California
IBM Corporation, New York, New York (several paintings)
IBM Corporation, Milford, Connecticut
Iwan, Cray, Chicago, Illinois (several paintings)
Kaiser Permanente, Portland, Oregon (several paintings)
Lewis & Clark College, Portland, Oregon (several paintings)
Lord & Taylor Department Store, New York, New York (several paintings)
Manufacturers Hanover Trust, New York, New York
Markowitz, Herbold, Glade & Mehih, Portland, Oregon (several paintings)
Marshal Erdman Co, Madison, Wisconsin
Meyer Memorial Trust
Miller, Nash, Portland, Oregon
NERCO, Portland, Oregon
Nuveen Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
Oregon Health Sciences Center, Portland, Oregon
The Pacific Institute, Seattle, Washington
Paragon Restaurant, Portland, Oregon
Perkins, Coie, LLP, Portland, Oregon
John Podesta, Washington D.C.
Portland Art Museum, Portland, OR
Portland Community College, Rock Creek Campus, Portland, Oregon
Portland State University, Portland, Oregon
The Pratt Company, San Francisco, California
RNM Properties, San Francisco, California
Rosenbaum & Rosenbaum, Portland, Oregon (several paintings)
Salton, Inc., Lake Forest, Illinois
Gordon Segal, Crate & Barrel, Chicago, Illinois
Jordan Schnitzer, Portland, Oregon
Santharam Shekar, San Rafael, California
SEM Group, Denver, Colorado
Stoll and Stoll, Portland, Oregon
Southeastern Banking Corporation, New York, New York
TCDI Corporation, Ashville, North Carolina
Titan Pharmaceuticals, South San Francisco, California (several paintings)
TRW Corporation, Cleveland, Ohio
Walt Disney Productions, Los Angeles, California (several paintings)
Zale Corporation, New York, New York


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