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Reversed Evidence

Willie Cole, American, born 1955

Made in United States, North and Central America


Flatiron scorches and scorched and adhered dryer lint or padding (natural and synthetic fibers and cut textile, wood and paper fragments, wire mesh, and feathers) on two sheets of cream wove paper, in painted window frame

Sheet: 33 x 32 inches (83.8 x 81.3 cm)

© Willie Cole

Curatorial Department:
Prints, Drawings, and Photographs

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Purchased with the Hunt Corporation (formerly Hunt Manufacturing Co.) Arts Collection Program, 1993

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african american art [x]   african american artist [x]   black art [x]   domestic [x]   fabric [x]   fiber art [x]   iron burn [x]   labor [x]   mixed media [x]   repeated pattern [x]   textile [x]   work [x]  

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Since the late 1980s, Cole has created numerous works consisting of scorch marks on paper, canvas, or ironing board covers, in which a pattern is burned into the support with an old-fashioned flatiron. The rich, dark tones of the burnt patterns often resemble African textiles, and although they have a contemporary look, the scorch pieces inherently allude to African ritualistic beliefs and activities-such as scarification or fire myths-and to the role of domestic labor, such as ironing, in the African American experience. In some instances, like this example, the work is encased in an old window frame.