artists' books collection
police state, by sue coe
“Sue Coe … is a painter of truth, depicting things seen or visualising things known, and she uses a wide range of painterly devices to present this. However, much of the work is on what is generally held to be a political theme, and no painter of humankind can avoid the fact that life (and death) = politics. In her dissection of the contemporary world she strips bare the lies, the greed, complacency and visciousness of our time and presents them as she experiences them… it is a polemic art, one battering against a population which lives with its eyes closed--using the fact that people look at 'Art' (not reality)--to make them again aware of their environment. The title of the exhibition, "Police State", is not only a generic label for the world we live in, but also refers, in the painting of that name, to a specific instance of police brutality witnessed by herself and her sister at a rally in Trafalgar Square in 1985 where Jesse Jackson was speaking about South Africa. As with this painting, Coe continually forces universal principles into the concrete, the specific, and in this lies much of her bravery and the fear and terror engendered by her work.” – from a review by Araminta Morris in Women Artists Slide Library Journal (No. 28, April-May 1989).