Joe Coleman, Another Carpenter, 2010


In this self-portrait, one of his first after the completion of A Doorway to Joe, Coleman presents himself without any autobiographical background. The intensity of the head-portrait is in direct contrast to the full length self-portrait. Staring out from the panel, Coleman confronts the viewer with an accepting glance, as if peering into our world, from the outside. This small format is deeply reminiscent of early northern portrait painting, and yet the portrait relates more closely to another prolific self portraitist, James Ensor (who is acknowledged in A Doorway to Joe). The demons forming a halo around the artist´s head, so reminiscent of the troubles and woes which issue forth from Pandora (cat. no. 4), appear unable to penetrate or distract him, and we are reminded that for Coleman, the act of painting is cathartic, and an escape from the demons and troubles which haunt him.