Sue Coe – Feedlot

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Sue Coe, Feedlot, 1991
Lithograph
On view at Portland Art Museum (Jan. 11 – May 4, 2014)

Looking at Sue Coe’s Feedlot you get some sense of the scale and sweep of conventional meat production and its energy intensiveness. In the foreground the cattle are individuated and you can see eyes and faces, while towards the background the animals become abstracted elements in a swirling, sweeping pattern. Some of the curves and formations resemble pistons, wheels, and other machine elements. Perhaps most intriguing is the lone human figure, standing with his back to the spectator in the foreground of the print. This print is not as shocking or brutal as it easily could be, perhaps to get us to look a bit longer and contemplate this sweeping tableau and where we fit in it.

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