GARDINER — Monkitree, 263 Water St., will showcase two screen-print suites by artist Kenny Cole, of Monroe. An opening reception is set fo 5:30-8:30 p.m. Friday, May 6, during Artwalk Gardiner. In addition to street parking, there is a public parking lot behind the buildings.

Both suites feature font shapes intended to evoke memories, resulting in pieces that allow the viewer to enter into the piece from the familiar then delve into its deeper meaning.

Cole doesn’t lead people into one way of thinking but encourages a conversation, which in the current political climate is refreshing.

“Gasoline Prices” is a suite of eight prints that illustrate every gas price, to the nearest cent, from 20 cents to five dollars. The prices are arranged in random order and subject to the dictates of the picture plane, thus each print is a group of numbers that are clearly readable but also an abstract field of shapes that are composed in an “all over” fashion in which each area of the composition is given equal attention and significance.

They are silk-screen printed using cut paper stencils. The font face is based on the hexagonal shapes found in a seven-segment digital display, which is typical of gas pump read outs.

Cole’s approach to this work is conceptual, narrative and visual. Conceptually he sets up a rule, to represent a finite group of numbers that are relational to retail consumption of gasoline. This simple gesture brings with it the whole history of oil production, international conflicts over resources and the ensuing history of domestic economic crises that have rippled through countries due to price fluctuation.

That, in turn, opens up a collective narrative, relative to one’s personal timeline and an earliest identity with or memory of a lowest gas price. The imperfect hand-cut stencil, random order and arrangements create dizzying vibrations, odd negative spaces and accidental visual alignments.

The exhibit will also include work from a suite in progress entitled “The 1911 Abides.”

“The 1911,” is the name of a .45 caliber Colt pistol that was formally adopted by the U.S. Army on March 29, 1911, and has continued, since then, to be a popular and favorite firearm. The “1911” is described in a gun magazine article as comfortable for an all-day carry.

In this suite of prints Cole has transcribed the complete article using Dunkin Donuts’ font face. Within each print he has circled out, using gouache, a secondary narrative, intuitively wrought as a response to the language and words within the article.

An alternative title for the suite might be “Comfort Zone,” combining the subtext of soft sweet comfort food with the idea of a zone of protection afforded by being armed. Cole suggests that this desire for comfort might be one of the myriads of motivators that underlie our addiction to technology and something that shields us from acknowledging when it is used for violence.

For more information, call 512-4679 or visit www.monkitree.com.

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