Embracing unpredictability, messiness and failure Coble has worked with performance art for over 15 years, through this time aiming to manifest problems of bodily, societal and symbolic navigation particularly focusing on issues of injustice and normative boundaries. Recurrent themes in Coble’s work revolve around queer politics and poetics often working site-specifically, research-based and - from time to time - collectively/participatory.  Engagement in artistic practices and interventions within and outside of established institutions and the use of activist strategies are integral to Coble’s work. 
 
As an educator Coble supports other in considering the complexity, potential and power that their work can hold. Methods of play, experimentation, failing, re-examining, and re-contextualizing are used to challenge and support a mode of working that translates into their own artistic practice and visual language. Coble also challenges them to question their praxis and aesthetics, re-invent themselves, expand outside of what they see as safe and familiar and to give themselves the freedom to experience an energy of making art that may not always be comfortable.
 
Coble’s current artistic work and research “Gestures of Defiance (working title) evolves around tactics, props and gestures used in the history of queer activism and related political protests; specifically focusing on the raised fist and the practice of glitter bombing.  ”Tactical frivolity” typically involving humor, performativity and peaceful non-compliance in reaction to social injustice such as pieing, drag, glitter bombing, and various forms of political theater are also keys points of research with Coble’s current work.  Considering manifestations of resistance through symbols, actions, language or silence and asking how can resistance be formulated from a queer or marginalized position Coble thinks through and with a performative practice.
 
Coble’s argues for the necessity of the “killjoy” figure (Sarah Ahmed) as a position of resistance within marginalized communities and normative structures that are based on particular set of codes, rules and expectations.  The killjoy figure or symbol of defiance confronts the power that is executed from within this homogeny and opens a space for resistance. Coble calls for a queer insistence on deviance as a deconstruction of the power that the norm performs (Judith Butler).
 
In the live work from 2015 Performing Defiance, Coble repeated the gesture of the raised fist combined with extensive glitter bombing in order to re-activate these gestures in a durational act of protest. The piece incited exhilaration and exhaustion, allowing for again, this unpredictability, messiness and failure which are particular points of interest and excitement for Coble and refers to Jack Halberstam’s proposal that resisting heteronormative standards of success and deliberately failing is a queer art in itself.
 
Originally from a small farming community in Julian, North Carolina, USA Coble attended graduate school in Washington, DC and lived there for 10 year.  Coble taught at various art institutions in the United States during this time including at The George Washington University in Washington, DC as a Professorial Lecturer in Photography and at Maryland Institute College of Arts in Baltimore, Maryland. Courses designed and taught include: Time, Space and Technology in Video and Performance (co-taught with Siobhan Rigg); Professional Practices, Contemporary Photography; Color Photography; Advanced Digital Printing and Introduction to Black and White Photography.
 
From 2011-2014 as a Professor at the Funen Art Academy in Odense, Denmark Coble designed and facilitated workshops such as Performance in Practice; Non-Traditional Photography; Dark Matter: The Politics and Practice of Art in Urban Spaces; Site Specific Installation as Radical Transformation and Another Kind of Public Education (co-taught with Jeuno JE Kim).  
 
Collaboration and spaces that support dialogue and community are ideals that Coble values and finds in part through residencies and artist in residency programs. Coble has been an artist-in-residence through IASPIS: Swedish Visual Arts International Residency Program in Umeå, SE; Red Dirt Studio, Mt. Ranier, MD and in Washington, DC as part of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden’s Artist at Work With Youth Program.  Coble has attended numerous residencies most notably the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Skowhegan, Maine.  
 
Coble’s work, which has been included in exhibitions such as Queer Objectivity, The Stamp Gallery, University of Maryland, Baltimore, MD; The Great Refusal: Taking on New Queer Aesthetics, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL; Lost and Found: Queerying the Archive, Nikolaj Center of Contemporary Art in Copenhagen, Denmark and in the traveling archive re.act.feminism #2-a performing archive.
 
Coble has performed live as part of 13 Festivalen, Festival of Performance Art in Gothenburg, Sweden, the Rapid Pulse Performance Festival in Chicago, Illinois; the MADE Festival, Umea, Sweden; Commitment Issues: An Evening of Performances at Oasis Aqualounge, an ‘up-scale' sex club presented by FADO Performance Art Network, Toronto, Canada; Global Feminisms, Brooklyn Museum of Art, Brooklyn, NY and in Performa 05, a visual art performance biennial at Artists Space, NYC, NY.

The most recent multimedia solo exhibitions include Still Deferred, The Center of Arts and Education, Umea, Sweden (2015), Gestures of Defiance at the Vita Kuben, Umea, Sweden (2015); Protest in Pride a work commissioned by the Gothenburg Pride Festival (2014) at Gothenburg City Library and in the “Pride Parade”; Deferral, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC (2013) and Maneuvering, Overgaden Institute of Contemporary Art, Copenhagen, Denmark (2012).
 
Coble currently lives in Gothenburg, Sweden and is a Senior Lecturer in the Fri Konst and Photography Units of the MFA Programs at Valand Academy of Art, Gothenburg University.
 
Mary Coble/2016
www.marycoble.com
http://gesturesofdefiance.blogspot.se






 
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