|This biography from the Archives of AskART:|
|Born in Tamworth, Staffordshire, England, Sue Coe, who had studied at
the Royal College of Art in London, emigrated to the United States in
1972. She settled in New York City from where she has
established a reputation as a sociopolitical artist, mostly doing
charcoal drawings. Her work
references a wide range of 'not-easy-on-the-eyes' issues including the
Ku Klux Klan, sweatshop conditions, animal rights,
petroleum industry violations, apartheid, women's rights and
AIDS. Her goal is to educate her viewers and not to please them
In 1983, her book, How to Commit Suicide in South Africa, was
published and became a tool for dissuading people from investing in
companies with stock in South Africa. A second book, (1986) The Life and Times of Malcolm X,
contributed to the resurging popularity of that Black-American
political leader. From 1986, her focus has been the meatpacking
industry. For research to provide visual impact, she toured slaughterhouses extensively in the
United States, Canada and England, and was able to do numerous sketches
even though cameras and videos were forbidden. Resulting was her book Dead Meat
(1996), which had numerous images intended to show the disgusting,
gruesome side of slaughterhouses and factory farms. Coe has
labelled the image series for this book as Porkopolis after the first central meat processing center in the United States, located in Cincinnati.
Sue Coe began her career in America as an illustrator for the op-ed page of The New York Times, and since that time has had drawings in many publications such as The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, Rolling Stone and Artforum.
Most of her charcoal drawings are intended to be devoid of her
personality in order to free the viewer to focus on the subject.
However, an exception is a series, The Last 11 Days, which she
made of her sixty-four year old mother dying of cancer. To honor
her mother's wishes to die at home, Coe and her sister returned to
Liverpool, England to be with her. Of this experience, Coe said
that her mother was of a stoic generation that seldom revealed their
true feelings and that she died as she lived. Emphasizing
emotional isolation, the resulting drawings are a "sharp contrast
between the heavily worked charcoal and the empty paper background . .
."(Folan 20). These drawings also reveal an emotional disconnect
or tension between Coe and the situation in that the artist, doing a
drawing each day, was able to document the decline scientifically and
objectively while being much involved emotionally. In 2005-2006,
the series was a feature exhibit at the National Museum of Women in the
Arts in Washington DC.
David Winton Bell Gallery, Providence Rhode Island
Kerry Kathleen Folan, "Sue Coe: The Last 11 Days', Women in the Arts, Holiday 2005, pp. 18-21
|Biography from Galerie St. Etienne:|
|Born in Tamworth (Staffordshire), and educated at the Royal College of
Art in London, Sue Coe emigrated to the United States in 1972.
Settling in New York City, she initially pursued a career as an
illustrator for such publications as the New York Times and Time magazine. |
Finding her editorial assignments too constraining, however, she soon
began doing extended series of larger paintings and drawings on
subjects of her own choosing. She became something of a "star" of
the East Village scene in the early 1980s, with works depicting such
notorious current events as Bernard Goetz's subway shooting and the
rape of a women on a pooltable in a New Bedford, MA, bar. (The latter
painting is now in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern
Coe's first book-length series, How to Commit Suicide in South Africa (1983),
was used as an anti-apartheid organizing tool on college campuses
nationwide. She has since published illustrated books on Malcolm
X (X, 1986), the meat industry (Dead Meat, 1996) and related animal
rights subjects (Pit's Letter, 2000).
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