Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art: Feminist Art Base: Mary Coble

Mary Coble

Born in North Carolina, Mary Coble now lives and works in Washington, DC. Aside from working as a full time artist, Mary teaches Photography and Performance Art at several Universities and youth organizations.
The seriousness of intolerance that I see in our society is one of the driving forces that leads me to create work. I want to challenge people to re-evaluate overly simplified and narrow understandings of a much more expansive reality. As a lesbian I do not always fit into the ideal standards that our society has set for women. I am conscious of the constrictions that people may struggle against. The dichotomies that our society follow, such as feminine/masculine and beautiful/ugly are too narrow and restrict the myriad of experiences that makes up personal expression. Through photographs, video and performances I introduce viewers to individuals and subcultures, such as transgender people, drag kings and the queer community who break societal norms of acceptable expressions. I want viewers to become aware of their responses, recognize the stereotypes they consciously and unconsciously reinforce, and question the biases their choices are based upon. I often use my body as a metaphor and site for questions that involve, as well as move beyond, corporeal matters. These performances establish a sense of vulnerability but also power that is important for the emotional state of mind that I strive to maintain throughout the piece. I do not accept the roles, boundaries and decisions that our culture and society has strategically planned for my community. I strive to confront conventional social constructs that are malleable and will continue to change. I want people to be forced to critically consider their reactions and interactions with social injustices. I have the freedom to explore this territory in part due to the women before who have fought to be recognized. I make art that challenges directives because I look at art by women who do the same and it excites me. It makes me feel strong and I’m honored to be a part of such a community of people who stand up.

View Mary Coble's CV (PDF)

Untitled 1 (from Note to Self)Untitled 3 (from Note to Self)Binding Ritual, Daily Routine AversionSessionsBlood ScriptBlood Script

Washington, DC


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