Jo Coyle is a Maryland-based painter working in both figuration and abstraction. She will be bringing her most recent body of work, Siren, a series of portraits painted from life, to Chesapeake Arts Center for a solo exhibition. This is Jo’s personal statement about these paintings:
“This series will feature women (an extended definition of the word, in order to be as inclusive as possible and to consider stigmas regarding sexuality and transgenderism) who’ve had a history of mental health struggles, and/or a history of feeling oppressed by the stigma of mental health issues and the expectation to “keep it together” in social, familial, and professional settings in spite of these issues. Often there isn’t a safe space to discuss these struggles without feeling like we are drowning or dragging others down with us – and so I’d like Siren to serve as that space.
I imagine a lot of people experience shame along with their mental struggles, despite the strength and endurance dealing with these issues can bring. I think these paintings would be a way for someone like me to assure others it’s okay to be in the dark, and they’re not alone in wanting to talk about it (or in not wanting to talk about it), even if the first step is just showing their face in a collection of paintings surrounding the subject. If this series gives one woman a safe opportunity to acknowledge and/or reveal that they’re struggling, I’d consider it a success.”Learn More