Duplicity is a series of dramatic underwater portraits filled with an emotional energy that emanates from the canvas. In each scene, artist Barbara Cole captures hazy, mirrored figures that blur the lines between reality and fiction. Although the complex arrangements have many painterly qualities, the compositions are actually photographs that draw upon a variety of creative techniques.
Cole uses plastic sheets, cloth, clouds, and reflections combined with artificial lighting and deliberately adjusted camera settings to produce the beautifully dynamic scenes that are filled with a sense of mystery. Her faceless female forms seem trapped in a world of emotionally-charged chaos. The artist creates a tension between her subjects and the surrounding space, challenging her viewers to reconsider how we perceive the relationship between our own bodies and the space around us.
Cole says, “By seeing through water, rather than through air, I am able to re-envision the nature of our relationship to our surroundings. Working in the water also provides an ideal space to continue to explore figurative. It also allows me to refocus attention on this natural resource that we have in abundance and is often taken for granted.”