On Thursday, March 1, the downtown Perimeter Gallery will open “As High as Heaven,” an exhibition of paintings and drawings about pageantry, patriotism and warmongering by Monroe artist Kenny Cole. A reception will be held that evening from 6 to 8 p.m.

Cole is well-known for his graphically strong drawings that mix text and raucous imagery, direct in both their subject matter and execution. At the center of this show are five large-scale paintings on canvas. For the first time in decades, rather than rendering in ink and gouache on paper, Cole has pointedly chosen a vehicle traditionally considered to have more weight. Still, he subverts convention by making two-sided paintings,   installed with hinges and meant to be handled by the viewer in order to take in both sides. In back of the canvas — a place the viewer is usually not allowed to see — Cole draws, sculpts in papier-mâché and incorporates plastic packaging into his work.

Originally conceived of as Jacob’s Ladders, the sectioned paintings imitate the dimensions of a ladder, slender and 10 to 12 feet tall. Referencing the ladder stretching between heaven and earth as seen in a dream by the biblical patriarch Jacob, Cole asks viewers to contemplate mankind’s various constructs that link what happens here in our world with a higher power. Among other things, he repeatedly depicts long arms emerging from clouds, the hands dropping matches, holding chunks of land or pointing authoritatively to texts — the last being a rather straight-forward reference to scriptural justification for man’s actions, from oppression to war.

“As High as Heaven” will be on view through April 22, although the gallery will be closed March 19 through April 2. Perimeter Gallery is located in Chase’s Daily at 96 Main St. Gallery hours are Tuesdays through Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sundays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information, call 338-0555. To learn more about Cole and his work, visit kennycole.com. To view images from “As High as Heaven”, visit blurb.com/bookstore/detail/2988731.

VillageSoup Art/Entertainment Editor Dagney Ernest can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by email to dernest@villagesoup.com.