Cole Case is a man obsessed with: airplanes, the night sky, palm trees, runways, depopulated public spaces and his own private plethora of nostalgic memorabilia. Armed with these iconographic signifiers, Case, in his second solo exhibition with Chimento Contemporary, has painted a series of eight gorgeously rendered oil paintings that both commemorate and celebrate the oft ignored public arenas where people conduct the business of their lives.
Most of these spaces are recognizable, though many of them suggest vague recollections of times long since passed, and reflected upon through the hazy and unreliable consequence of memory. Works like Vista Del Mar Nocturne (2016) seem strangely anthropomorphic as a dozen or more airplanes chart a mass exodus across the night sky like giant prehistoric birds seeking a safe harbor from the storm.
Case’s obsession appears to be drawn from a desire to create order and beauty where there is none; or perhaps his preoccupation with empty space and the planes that demarcate the sky is a means of liberating his mind – a kind of mosaic of artistic possibility with the planes as specific punctuation within that space.
Vista Del Mar Nocturne in particular is unsettling and calls to mind a destabilization of routine daily events as though some terrible event had occurred and people are trying to get out fast. Or, the work represents a more comedic impulse, aka the famed and infamous Airplane movies with Lesley Nielson. Still other paintings as in Incoming LAX Traffic 9/2/16 show the same airplanes, only now it is daytime and the planes are flying toward us. Again, because there are so many all at once, the planes appear comical and out of place in the luminous expanse of blue sky.
Cole Case, “Everything Was Beautiful and Nothing Hurt,” February 11 – March 25, 2017 at Chimento Contemporary, 622 South Anderson Street, Space 105, Los Angeles, CA, http://www.chimentocontemporary.net/.