New York

Joe Coleman

Tilton Gallery

Western art’s cozy relationship with Catholicism ended somewhere in the eighteenth century, but a vestige of it persists in the work of Joe Coleman. The first item in the brief biography on the artist’s website reads, “1953: Jacqueline Hoban marries Joseph Coleman Sr., and is excommunicated” (his mother remarried without the church’s blessing). Subsequent entries include “1963: Draws first pictures of bleeding saints, death by fire and stabbing” and “1967: ‘Confesses’ to committing several murders, to a priest at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Norwalk, CT.”

Religious allusions were abundant in Coleman’s recent show at the Tilton Gallery. The gallery was darkened and Coleman’s paintings were illuminated individually like icons in a chapel, and a loosely installed selection from the artist’s “Odditorium” (a personal cabinet of curiosities) included a statue of a female saint in ecstasy, an

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