Bek Coogan

b. 1972

Bek Coogan (aka Oona Verse) 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’” - BC

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.

Bek was born in Palmerston North and currently lives in Wellington.

Education
2012 Graduate Diploma in Secondary Teaching, Victoria University of Wellington
2004 Masters in Fine Arts (First Class Honours), Massey University, Wellington 

Selected Exhibitions
2016 Seen and Heard, Depot Artspace, Devonport, Auckland, NZ

2015
Rocked Stars, Engine Room, Massey University, Installation and performance with Fantasing
Stars Rocked, The Physics Room, Christchurch, Installation and performance with Fantasing

2014
Boom Box, Installation, Camp a Low Hum, Wainuiomata
Failure and Risk in Creative Practice, (Art Talk as Performance), CoCA Postgraduate Lecture Series semester 1, Massey University, Wellington
HIT LIST, I.C.A.N., Institute of Contemporary Art Newtown, Sydney, Sound Art Show curated by Scott Donovan (Aus)
Oona Verse collaboration with Lady Laser Light, Helenyi Pratley and Marika Pratley, Exploded Cinema, a Festival of Live Music and Film, Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision, Wellington

2013
Wholesale Mass, Solo performance and exhibition of drawings, August Cafe, 13 Garrett St, Wellington
Femme Velocity in Aotearoa, (Art talk as Performance), Panel discussion chaired by Heather Gailbraith, City Gallery, Wellington
Oona Verse, music performance and dance collaboration (with Mlos Hague and Tesa Martin) The Crypt, St Mary’s of the Angels, Wellington

2012 The Origin of Fire, Camp a Low Hum, Wainuiomata

2011 
L.A Woman, Fountain Woman, Blanket Woman, Tiger Translate, Wellington
Typical Girls, The New Zealand Film Archive, Wellington
Horoscope Show, Enjoy Public Art Gallery, Wellington

2010 
Blue Oyster Performance Series, Dunedin
Peach Teats, Camp A Low Hum, Flock House, Bulls (solo performance and installation)
I Am A Strange Loop, Performance/Installation with Full F***king Moon, Blue Oyster Gallery Performance Series, Otago Pioneer Woman’s Memorial Hall, Dunedin

2009 Still Life With Black Light, Performance/Installation with Full F***king Moon, Künstlerhäuser Worpswede, (Germany)

Publications  
Full Fuckng Moon, Still Life With Black Light, Edition Künstlerhäuser Worpswede (LP) (2009)
Coogan, Bek /Tilly, Torben, On The Subject Of Fate & the Destiny of Objects, for Travelogue: Tactical Objects, Issue 2 Spring 2009

Selected Articles
Cross, David That Last Moment; Recent Video Art (review), Photofile (Winter 2005, p77)
Ireland, Peter Coogan’s Bluff (article & artist page), Pulp (Summer 2003, p66)