Bek Coogan

b. 1972

Bek Coogan (aka Oona Verse) is based in Wellington, originally from Palmeston North. She works across the fields of Performance, Music, Video, Drawing and Collage, exploring both the art and non-art world, questioning the artist’s role and their ability to practice in non-art spaces.

Her work posits an alternative female and mythic utopia that began in 2002 with an exhibition of drawings based on a character called Sheville. Drawing on influences including New Zealand painter Colin McCahon and DIY feminist, punk-inspired drawing/collage, the exhibition signaled the idealistic foundations of Coogan’s practice -

“Sometimes Art is a call to the wild or to the source, which Bek endures the shit-fight to get back to, (no matter what ‘medium’ she is using, sometimes she’ll use anything she can get her hands on). Bek loves Earth. ' In collaborating with fellow artist Beth Sometimes, a phrase often used is ‘Renew your vows with the cosmos’” - Artist Statement

Over the past 15 years Coogan has been active in a number of bands, using the live music venue as art space. Performing in New Zealand and Europe, her work celebrates and confuses the relationship between the rock musician and the audience, projecting transcendence as absurdism, and vice versa. Most recently she has been a member of Fantasing, an installation, music and live performance collaboration with Sarah Jane Parton Parton, Claire Harris and Gemma Syme.

Selected Exhibitions

Flat Earthers, The Engine Room, Wellington

Art Cave Refrain, The Pyramid Club, Wellington  
We Are All Hostages, Te Whare Hēra, Wellington 

Seen and Heard, Depot Artspace, Auckland

Fantasing: Rocked Stars, Engine Room, Wellington
Fantasing: Stars Rocked, The Physics Room, Christchurch

Boom Box, Camp a Low Hum, Wainuiomata
Failure and Risk in Creative Practice, Massey University, Wellington
HIT LIST, I.C.A.N., Institute of Contemporary Art, Sydney, Australia
Exploded Cinema, (collaboration with Lady Laser Light, Helenyi Pratley and Marika Pratley), Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision, Wellington