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"Sue Coe: Sheep of Fools"
2005-09-20 until 2005-11-05
Galerie St. Etienne
New York, NY,
USA United States of America
Sue Coe’s newest series of mixed-media drawings, Sheep of Fools, is the focus of the Galerie St. Etienne’s first exhibition of the fall season, scheduled to run from September 20 through November 5. Sheep of Fools (with text by Judith Brody) has just been published as a Blab! book by Fantagraphics. The Sheep of Fools series will be exhibited alongside drawings from several related cycles, including Ghost Sheep, The Man with No Heart, Fowl Plague (all originally published in Blab! magazine) and a new group of woodcuts on the Iraq war.
In Sheep of Fools and the related cycles, Sue Coe continues and expands upon her ongoing interest in the relationship between humans and animals. Whereas her highly acclaimed Porkopolis series in the late 1980s entailed an on-the-scene investigation of slaughterhouses and factory farms, the newer work melds factual information with allegorical symbolism. All the series have loose narrative structures. Meticulous in their detail and often apocalyptic in tone, Coe’s latest drawings are reminiscent of Bosch or Breughel. Sheep of Fools (a pun on Sebastian Brant’s fifteenth-century catalogue of human vice, Ship of Fools) encompasses a broad history of sheep farming. Starting in the Middle Ages, when the wool industry laid the foundation for England’s economic dominance, the story concludes with present-day sheep transports, in which live sheep are shipped by truck and boat, often at great cost in animal and human life. The story of one such deadly transport is the subject of Ghost Sheep, while The Man with No Heart tells of a farmer’s negligence toward the livestock entrusted to his care.
Untitled (The Last Drowning Sheep), 2002
Graphite, gouache and watercolor on white Strathmore Bristol
board, mounted on heavy off-white textured paper
20" x 14 7/8" (50.8 x 37.8 cm)
Page 7 from Ghost Sheep. Reproduced in Blab! No. 13,
Autumn 2002, p. 61