Gallery 1, Drawing. The ‘SheHe Pet Series’: a suite of chalk drawings of fabulous creatures, animals and landscapes expressing the emotion of human melding and morphing done in an earthy, rude style redolent of folk art. Each image conjures a popular story of SheHe pets’ ordinary lives as they frolic and pose in a variety of guises and gender disguises. SheHe pets are imaginative chimera with symbolic significance that could function for the artist as protective icons of joy and sensuality warding off real life oppressions and tribulations. Influences include Zapotec terracotta, Anglo-Saxon craftwork, the Book of Kells and Kalighat watercolours.
Gallery 2, Painting: From the mid 1960's Caroline Coon defied period taste for cool abstraction to work in the hot realm of figurative and narrative painting. Her work links the proto-feminist Pop art of Evelyne Axell and Pauline Boty to pioneer feminist artists like Sylvia Sleigh and Margaret Harrison. In her social realist paintings Coon re-sets themes from myth and religion to tell stories with a socio-political agenda. Influenced by the great history painting ‘machines’ of the past Coon arranges people in her Urban Landscapes to depict transformative gender actions. The result is both a formalist dialogue with orthodox iconography and a ‘shocking’ challenge to it. At first glance the paintings can seem calmly respectable but closer inspection reveals transgression hiding in plain sight.
Despite the impact of technology on the process and production of art Coon’s style remains classically timeless, resolutely slow and hand-made. Embracing seriousness and fun, Coon works as a politically conscious artist unafraid to be outspoken and acutely aware that images have the power to inform behaviour and change humanity.