January 12 – February 23, 2018

Roll Up Project is pleased to present two monumental paintings by Frank Cole.


Playing with perspective, illusions, and concepts of space, Cole expertly guides the viewer through realms of indoor and outdoor, which exist simultaneously in these paintings. Cole’s work gives us space within these immense canvases to explore and move around in architecture and in nature. By placing these two paintings of internal exteriors in a window, the works play with place, space, and inside/outside.


In the main roll up door on Harrison Street, Cypress House (To the Best of My Knowledge) features an interior with two doorways leading to a second room. The crisp white baseboards and door frames contrast with the cypress forest and waterway that fill the rest of the canvas, creating a wide border zigzagging through the canvas. This optical illusion makes the viewer question – are we looking at an interior with a decorative wallpaper? Or can we step into this cypress forest? The open doorways act more like gateways or portals into this fantasy world.


Cole pulls away the boundary between inside and outside, allowing the viewer to contemplate architecture’s comforting enclosure alongside the soothing environs of a forest, with its gentle canopy and rhythmic repetition. One can imagine walking through this cypress forest toward the muddy banks, and feeling the same stillness that exists in an unfurnished house.


In the Third Street windows, Gulf Shores (High Tide) depicts an interior with views to a waterscape outside. Here, the viewer is clearly indoors, standing on the solid wood floor with a wooden ceiling above, but the sense of nature is immediate and close by. The waterscapes and dock images on the walls could be paintings, or perhaps windows. A trap door in the floor leads to the water below. These framed viewpoints become pictures – whether moving or still, they are a forced perspective, a narrow slice of nature’s limitless bounds. Each viewpoint can be explored on its own, or connected into a collective scene as a set of windows.


Frank Cole is an adjunct professor at the University of San Francisco. He creates narrative paintings and installations that reflect on architecture, collective memory, and human behavior. His recent body of work is based upon his family’s former home in southern Mississippi.  Cole lives and works in Emeryville, CA.


To learn more about Frank Cole, click here.


Cypress House (To the Best of My Knowledge), 2017
acrylic on drop cloth
72 x 108 inches


Gulf Shoes (High Tide), 2015
acrylic on drop cloth
108 x 72 inches